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Ministry unveils a 21 day plan to battle cholera, puts counties on the spot

By Graham Kajilwa and Josphat Thiong'o. | Published Tue, July 18th 2017 at 00:00, Updated July 17th 2017 at 22:54 GMT +3
(Photo: Courtesy)

The Health Ministry has cancelled all medical certificates for food handlers across the country in efforts to contain a cholera outbreak.

County Health Departments have been directed to conduct fresh medical examination of all food handlers and issue validated certificates.

The crackdown comes on the back of increasing cases of food poisoning and cholera that have occasioned three deaths in 336 cases recorded in Nairobi since May.

Authorities said the latest incident that affected two Cabinet secretaries who had attended a trade conference at KICC was being investigated.

In addition, all counties have been directed to inspect afresh hotels and food eating joints in the next 21 days.

Health departments in all the 47 counties have also been directed to ban hawking of food in town centres and estates. The directives are contained in a 21-day plan unveiled by Director of Medical Services (DMS) Jackson Kioko yesterday.

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The ministry has also banned outsourcing of food by hotels and other meeting venues from unlicensed or uninspected premises or individual suppliers who have not met health requirements.

In the nine-point list of directives, Dr Kioko said the measures were necessary to contain the situation and ensure a cholera-free country.

Kioko added that a task force has already been formed to oversee the situation until it is brought under control.

The directives extended to water and sewer departments where the DMS asked the health departments to work with relevant authorities to map out and repair broken sewer lines.

“Carry out water quality assurance by testing all water sources including random and regular samples from vendors,” read the list of directives in part.

Counties have also been directed to identify Cholera Treatment Centres to contain cholera at the source and to conduct public awareness campaigns in cholera hot spots and all informal settlements.

For Nairobi County, Kioko said adequate water treatment chemicals and other sanitation consumables had been supplied and had to be issued to members of the community during public awareness meetings.

He said the ongoing nurse’s strike would not affect the anti-cholera campaign.