Nakuru families agonise over bedbug infestation

A community health worker fumigates one of the houses infested with bedbugs in Rhonda Estate in Nakuru County. [Harun Wathari, Standard]
Mary Achieng has been spending sleepless nights trying to fight bedbugs that have infested her house. 

At times, the mother of three from Rhonda Estate in Nakuru spends the night fighting the insects using hot water, but they seem to be on a revenge mission.

She also tried to use concoctions of detergents but this too has never worked. The bugs, she says, have taken over her house robbing her of the comfort of sleeping in a bed.

“I have not known peace of relaxing on a couch or have a sound sleep for the past three years. We keep moving from the bed, to the chairs, we sometimes find ourselves on the floor,” she said.

SEE ALSO :Bedbugs outbreak hits Nakuru, joint effort to fumigate

Acheing also blames the bedbugs for her children’s poor performance in school. “They don’t concentrate during lessons since most of the time they are dosing off having not slept well at night,” she added.

Achieng can’t also remember the last time she had a visitor in her home as she fears they bedbugs would ruin their visit. 

“I always come up with excuses whenever someone requests to visit me, these things are all over even on the walls, it is such a shame but it is also such a helpless situation to find one at,” she said.

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Similar concerns have been raised by residents of Flamingo, Bondeni, Mazembe and Lakeview estates in the past three months. 

Poor spraying

According to Enock Odoyo, a community health volunteer poor spraying could have aided the bugs spread at a faster rate. He said chemicals purchased from local agrovets have also not been effective.

Last year, more than 4,000 households in the region were said to have been infested with bedbugs.

As a mitigation measure, the County Government of Nakuru has partnered with Greenlife Crop Protection Africa to fumigate affected estates.

At least Sh750,000 under the 2019/20 financial budget has been allocated to fumigate the insects.

Greenlife Crop Protection Africa representative Eliud Simiyu said residents had also reached out to them to help in dealing with the menace.

Substandard chemicals

Challenges in containing the insects according to Simiyu are uneven spraying, use of substandard chemicals and poor spaying methods.

At least 60 public health officers have also been trained to sensitise the community on proper measures of getting rid of the insects.

Public Health Officer Winnie Mwouko said at least 800 households are targeted for fumigation. The most affected estate is Rhonda and Pondamali.

The public health officer dismissed myths associated to breeding of bedbugs for instance proper hygiene saying they can be found at both low and high income residences. “It is worrying that people come to us for help but the moment when we  go to their houses to fumigate, the narrative changes, we must all be ready to deal with this menace,”said Mwouko.

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BedbugNakuru CountyBedbug Infestation