George Kebaso and Mutuku Mwangangi @PeopleDailyKe
Two wards set aside to handle cholera patients at the Kenyatta National Hospital were yesterday beyond their holding capacity, as reported cases of the disease continued to increase in Nairobi.
The government also admitted that the outbreak was approaching crisis levels and required urgent measures to contain it. A source at the hospital said a large number of patients, some who had allegedly been rejected by private hospitals, were checking into the facility.
“The Ministry of Health will discuss the problem with the county government and issue a harmonised statement. However, we are open to any referrals from other facilities, although we are now stretched to the limits,” the source, who sought anonymity told People Daily.
The source however, denied the two wards were established to handle cholera cases, saying one of them had been set up as an emergency holding facility during the Ebola scare in 2014.
Health Cabinet secretary, Cleopa Mailu yesterday said the hygiene-related disease was turning into a crisis and announced stringent measures to curb its spread.
According to Mailu, a task force comprising National and County government officials had issued several recommendations which are being implemented to tame the spread of cholera to neighbouring counties.
Among the measures that the government has put in place include the banning of outsourcing of foodstuff for conferences. “We have banned outsourcing of foodstuff to all hotels hosting people.
If you don’t have cooking facilities, you should not do so. We will also classify hotels that should supply food at Kenyatta International Convention Centre,” said Mailu. The CS said the number of new infections were on the rise and called on residents to be on high alert.
He lauded the Nairobi county government’s move to cancel licences of food handlers until they undergo fresh tests. “We are going to do a thorough inspection on all food outlets across the city, from small to five-star hotels.
We urge owners to comply,” the CS said. The CS said the crackdown would not spare informal food vendors and dismissed complaints about the tough measures saying they are in the interest of all Kenyans.