Malaria outbreak confirmed, officials deny four have died

A patient waits for treatment at Tirioko Ward, Tiaty Sub-county. The Ministry of Health has confirmed a malaria outbreak in the area. [Julius Chepkwony, Standard]
The Ministry of Health has confirmed an outbreak of malaria in Tiaty, Baringo County.

Public health chief officer, Winnie Bore said samples taken for tests in the Government laboratory have turned positive.

Dr Bore said the tests were conducted after up to 100 patients went to Chemolingot Sub-county hospital and several other health facilities with malaria symptoms such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea, profuse sweating, nausea and general body weakness.

“Laboratory tests done in government laboratories have confirmed that there is an outbreak of malaria in Tiaty Sub County. The situation is, however, under control,” said Bore.

She, however, denied reports by local leaders and administrators that the disease has killed at least four people.

The medic said two of those said to have died of the disease were suffering from severe anaemia while the cause of death of the other two was yet to be established.

“I can confirm that the outbreak, but we do not have any death attributed to the disease,” she said.

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Most of those affected are children below the age of five, expectant mothers and the elderly.

According to Bore, a medical team of nurses, clinical officers, doctors and nutritionists has been dispatched to respond to the outbreak.

The team, together with volunteers from the Kenya Red Cross Society, is conducting tests, treatment and distributing anti-malaria drugs and mosquito nets.

Bore attributed the outbreak to rains witnessed in the sub-county in the past three months that she said created breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

Tiaty is among the regions classified as malaria zones in the country because of its hot and humid weather that creates breeding grounds for mosquitoes, especially after heavy rains.

In 2017, an outbreak of malaria in the sub county killed at least 20 people.

Areas where deaths was reported include Tirioko Kapau, Silale, Akoret, Tangulbay, Mukutani, Churo Amaya, Nginyang, Kolowa, Lokis and Rotu.

Residents and local politicians have accused the Government of failing to contain the disease.

Tirioko ward rep, Sam Lokales accused both national and county governments of being slow in setting up malaria prevention programmes.

According to Lokales, mosquito nets should be distributed regularly to protect residents from mosquitoes.

“It is unfortunate the authorities only come in when there is an outbreak,” he said.

Lokales faulted the county for not equipping and employing more medics at various hospitals including Ngaina, Ng’oron, Lokerelach, Krese, Ptikii, Chewara, Sugut, Kamuryo and Kapunyany to provide quality health care to locals.

“Hospitals should be stocked with enough drugs and more medics employed to help contain the disease,” he said.

However, Bore denied this and attributed resurgence of malaria to the nomadic lifestyle of  area residents.

“Enough mosquito nets have been distributed, but the majority do not use them because they keep on moving,” she said.

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Malaria outbreakBaringo CountyTiaty