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Health Ministry cancels medical certificates of all food handlers


 The Director of Medical Services (MOH) Dr Jackson Kioko

The Health ministry has cancelled medical certificates of all food handlers across the country, in an attempt to deal with cholera scare.

All counties have been directed to inspect hotels and food eating joints afresh in the next 21 days as part of the new measures put in place by the ministry to battle cholera outbreak.

At the same time, the health departments across all the 47 counties have also been directed to ban hawking of food within their town centres and estates, a directive that the ministry said should be followed strictly.

The directives are contained in a 21 day plan unveiled by Director of Medical Services Dr Jackson Kioko on Monday following an outbreak of cholera that affected six dignitaries among them government officials being hospitalized with cholera like symptoms.

Consequently, the ministry has banned outsourcing of food by hotels and other meeting venues from unlicensed or un-inspected premises or individual suppliers who have not met the health requirements.

In the nine point list of directives DMS Kioko said the measures are necessary in order to contain the situation and declare a cholera free country.

Kioko added that a taskforce has already been formed to oversee the situation until it is put under control.

The multisectoral taskforce main agenda will be to respond to the ongoing cholera transmission.

"We want to start managing the disease right from where it is and not from the hospitals. You understand even just by transporting the patient to hospital you are also putting other people at risk," Kioko said to The Standard.

The directives extended to water and sewer departments where the DMS asked the health departments to work with relevant authorities to map out and repair broken overflowing sewer lines that do cause water contamination.

"Carry out water quality assurance by testing all water sources including random and regular samples from vendors," read the list of directives in part.

For effective management and containment of cholera cases, counties have also been directed to identify Cholera Treatment Centres to contain cholera at the source.

Further instructions indicate that the counties are supposed to carry out regular dialogues in cholera hot spots and all informal settlements to empower communities on regular hygiene and sanitation.

For Nairobi County, Kioko said adequate water treatment chemicals and other sanitation consumables have been supplied and must be issued to members of the community during the dialogue engagement meetings.

And despite the nurses strike that enters its 44th day, Kioko insisted that it will not in any way prevent the laid out plans.

The plan, as explained by the DMS will involve mobilizing health professionals to do some thorough ground work which will include educating the residents, link them with sanitation services.

"Cholera is an easy disease to treat. Once a suspected case is hydrated, treatment becomes much easier," said Kioko. 

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