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Stem chikungunya spread

By The Standard | May 28th 2016 | 1 min read

The national and county governments are battling a viral disease transmitted through mosquitoes in Mandera County and parts of western Kenya. Chikungunya, a disease whose symptoms include fever, joint and muscle pain, headache, night sweating and rashes, has so far affected 500 residents. The Ministry of Health has suggested a cross-border approach to the latest outbreak, which has also been reported in Ethiopia and Somalia.

The authorities in these three countries should therefore work closely to combat the disease. Health researchers should also work jointly to avert a future outbreak and seek effective treatment to avert deaths. In this day and age, lives should not be lost to treatable diseases. It is also prudent to study the trend of diseases and be prepared to handle them. Chikungunya was last reported in Kenya in 2004 when it ravaged Lamu, Kilifi and Mombasa counties.

Researchers must learn lessons and constantly seek solutions to alleviate human suffering and unnecessary deaths. This calls for enough resources for research institutions from the authorities and the donor community. It is foolhardy to expect quick interventions during disease outbreaks without enough funding to research institutions. For a long time, universities, health facilities and research institutions have been seeking more funding with little success. This is the time to step up funding to research.

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