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WHO: 4,000 infected with cholera in 2017

By The Standard | Published Wed, December 13th 2017 at 00:00, Updated December 13th 2017 at 09:51 GMT +3
A section of Nairobi Women's Hospital in Ongata Rongai where some police officers were hospitalised with cholera-like in September. (David Njaaga, Standard)

A World Health Organisation report lumping Nairobi together with the notorious Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps in regard to cholera infections should worry us. Even more worried should be the Nairobi County government.

Several cases of cholera were reported in Nairobi in areas nobody would have associated with the disease. An affluent suburb and a three-star hotel reported cholera cases early this year.

WHO says 3,967 Kenyans contracted cholera this year and 76 died. Globally, it is estimated that between 1.3 and 4 million people contract cholera. Between 21,000 and 143,000 people succumb to the disease each year. These are worrying statistics on a disease that should have been eradicated by now. Cholera thrives in dirty environments and while the conditions in the Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps - concentration of people in a small area and lack of proper sanitation - might be understandable, this  is not acceptable in Nairobi, East and Central Africa’s largest metropolis.

Even Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko has acknowledged that garbage is dumped illegally and indescriminately, even within the city's central business district. This calls for concerted efforts to end the practice.

Food sources must be made to adhere to the highest standards of sanitation to ensure that cholera is not spread through cooked or raw food sold in unhygienic conditions.

Counties and the national government have a duty to ensure there is adequate supply of clean water.

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