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Stray hippos cause panic at sewer plant

Naivasha, Kenya: Operations at the Naivasha sewerage treatment plant have been grounded after two hippos invaded one of the ponds.

The female hippo and its calf have been camping in the area for the last three weeks, adversely affecting activities in the busy area.

Several people are reported to be nursing injuries from attacks by the wild animals, which have sought refuge in the murky water.

In the latest incident, a middle aged man was left nursing a broken arm after the hippo attacked him on his way home on Wednesday night. According to a worker at the treatment plant Eliud Mathenge, the animals have made it impossible to access the pond.

“The female hippo arrived here three months ago and made this pond it’s home. After giving birth, it is virtually impossible to access the area,” he said.

LIVING IN FEAR

He said that the wild animals would leave the pond in the evening to feed, and return in the morning, leaving locals in fear of a possible attack.

“Officers from Kenya Wildlife Service have been coming here on daily basis but have not offered any help. We call on the government to assist in driving these animals back to the lake,” he said.

Ben Amaya, a resident said flower farm workers from Kihoto area were the worst affected, as they had to be careful when approaching the area.

“We are living in fear after an employee of a flower firm was attacked on his way home,” he said.

Peter Nguro, an animal expert said the hippo could have left the lake after it gave birth to a male calf.

Nguro said hippos live in groups controlled by a male, and when a male calf is born, the mother is either chased away to form it’s own group, or killed.

“It is a normal phenomenon as the mother may be hiding it’s calf from the rest of the group. But the authorities should make sure they are driven back to the lake,” he said.

TUBERCULOSIS PREVALENCE

Meanwhile, Naivasha sub-county hospital is among facilities in the country to benefit from a multi-million Tuberculosis (TB)  screening machine.

According to the sub-county medical officer in charge of health Dr Oren Ombiro, the machine will help detect resistant cases of TB.

“In the last year, we had three TB defaulters but we managed to track them. The new machine will go a long way in detecting new TB cases,” said the doctor.

This came as the hospital released its annual Health Indicator Survey, which show that TB co-infection stood at 40 per cent.

The report also indicated that HIV prevalence in the lake-side town had dropped to 5.1 per cent, against the national figure of 5.6 per cent.

According to Ombiro, of all the pregnant mothers tested in the sub-county in the 2013-14 period, 3.3 per cent were HIV positive.