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Nine dead as malaria outbreak ravages two refugee camps

Health & Science - By Joan Letting | October 26th 2017 at 12:07:37 GMT +0300

Nine people have died of malaria at Kakuma refugee camp and Kalobeyei settlement following an outbreak in the area.

A statement from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said thousands of malaria cases have been reported over the past two months.

“A total of five and four deaths have been reported in Kalobeyei settlement and Kakuma camp respectively. Around 12,000 cases of malaria, both from the host and refugee community, have been treated at Kakuma camp and Kalobeyei settlement since August 2017,” read the statement.

UNHCR also stated that increased cases of malaria had been reported among refugees in the camp following seasonal rains in Kakuma.

The agency noted that those infected by the plasmodium falciparum malaria were undergoing treatment in various hospitals in the camp.

“Health facilities in Kakuma camp and Kalobeyei settlement are stocked with both first-line and second-line recommended treatment for both severe and non-severe malaria. Health partners have enough rapid diagnostic kits to ensure all suspected cases are tested for confirmation,” the UNHCR communication director in Nairobi, Yvonne Ndege, said.

Health partners have also mobilised resources to ensure they procure enough anti-malarial drugs and rapid diagnostic kits to treat the increased cases of malaria in the camps.

Residual spraying

“Plans are underway to conduct indoor residual spraying across the camp with actelic, which has been shown in the past to be quite effective. A lot of community mobilisation is ongoing to encourage early health check seeking behaviour when refugees develop key symptoms,” the agency stated.

The camps host thousands of refugees from Ethiopia, Somalia, and South Sudan.

Early this month, more than 1,000 people tested positive for malaria in Marsabit after reports that more than 30 people had died in Baringo and Marsabit counties.

The Kenya Defence Forces deployed medical personnel to Baringo and parts of Turkana to administer treatment to 1,236 malaria patients including 426 children.

The nurses' strike continues to scuttle efforts to save the infected in the counties.

Consequently, health care has been on its knees.

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