By Christine Lagat NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The Kenyan government should channel new
resources towards modernization of urban sewerage infrastructure
in order to contain a cholera outbreak that has claimed dozens
of lives since last year, an official from a pan-African health
lobby said on Wednesday.
Githinji Gitahi, the
Group CEO of the Nairobi-based Amref Health Africa, said the
recent cholera outbreak should serve as a wake-up call for the
government and bilateral partners to invest in preventive
measures like basic sanitation for all citizens.
“The resurgence of
cholera in several parts of Kenya has revived a national
discourse about the disease. Special attention should be
directed towards prevention measures like handwashing, water
treatment and food hygiene,” Gitahi remarked in a commentary
published by the Standard Newspaper
Kenya has since
early this year witnessed an escalating cholera outbreak linked
to water scarcity and poor hygienic practices in urban slums and
A report from the
ministry of health indicated that a cholera outbreak had
affected 2,210 people in 16 counties by mid-August this year.
So far, 32 people
have died from cholera in the worst affected counties and the
toll could rise against a backdrop of weak surveillance and
Gitahi noted that
climatic shocks, ill-equipped health facilities and limited
investments in rural sanitation have worsened the burden of
water-borne diseases in Kenya.
“We need stricter
enforcement of public health standards and constant disease
surveillance for cholera and other public health threats,” said
Gitahi, adding that prosper housing and improved living
conditions are key to preventing cholera outbreaks in urban
He revealed that
Amref Health Africa has partnered with industry to improve the
capacity of community health workers in Kenya to detect and
treat cholera cases.
community health workers into the formal health system is
essential for cholera prevention. They can help keep communities
out of danger through hygiene education, surveillance and
treatment,” said Gitahi.
He urged the private
sector to invest in water, sanitation and hygiene programs in
order to lift the living standards of local communities.