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State orders for Swine flu drugs

By | September 26th 2009
By | September 26th 2009

By Standard on Saturday team

The country has placed fresh orders for four million doses of anti-swine flu medicine from the World Health Organisation (WHO), director of Public Health and Sanitation, Shahnaaz Sharif has said.

He said the Tamiflu drugs would help fight the spread of the disease.

Addressing a Kenya Veterinary Association workshop at a Kisumu hotel yesterday, Sharif predicted cases of the virus would increase as schools close for holidays.

This comes in the wake of increasing cases of swine flu, commonly known as H1N1 flu in schools.

He also said that emerging diseases like swine flu have their connections with animal health, hence calling for appropriate measures to contain their spread.

"Swine flu, for example, has its basis in animals but affects humans," he said. WHO has also cautioned health officials and school authorities to be aware of economic and social costs when considering closures.

The organisation said decisions about if and when schools should be closed during the pandemic are complex and highly context-specific.

But they warned that the main economic cost arises from absenteeism of working parents or guardians who have to stay home to take care of their children. According to studies school closures can lead to the absence of 16 per cent of the workforce, in addition to normal levels of absenteeism and due to illness.

"Paradoxically, while school closure can reduce the peak demand on health care systems, it can also disrupt the provision of essential health care, as many doctors and nurses are parents of school-age children," WHO said. In Malindi, the Government sent experts to Kingwende and Malindi secondary schools, over fear of an outbreak of swine flu.

Coast director of public health and sanitation, Dr Anisa Omar, said experts have identified 33 suspects in Msambweni suffering from the H1N1and at least six students have had their samples taken for testing. The school has 530 students.

"We have 33 suspects who are suffering and six of them have had their samples taken to Nairobi for verification," she said.

Elsewhere, Kenya Union of Post- Primary Education Teachers Secretary General Njeru Kanyamba has expressed concern over the Government’s handling of the flu saying the country could face a health disaster.

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