Kenya’s Ministry of Health (MOH) says at least 200 people have died due to cholera since October 2022.
The Ministry further disclosed a shortage of the cholera vaccine, which has made it possible to only administer one dose of the vaccine, against the recommended double dose.
This shortage comes after the World Health Organisation (WHO) raised concerns in Kenya’s arid northern region, stating that the impact of a prolonged and severe drought would have triggered the cholera outbreak.
In under 10 months, Kenya has recorded 11,872 cases and 194 deaths.
The outbreak has also spread across 25 counties, with cases recorded from October last year to July 2023.
“The Case Fatality Rate (CFR) stands at 1.7%, underscoring the gravity of the situation and the critical need for prompt action,” disclosed the ministry.
As a result, the health ministry will administer the Oral Cholera Vaccine (OCV) commencing August 3, 2023.
𝐆𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐧𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐀𝐧𝐧𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐜𝐞𝐬 𝐍𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐰𝐢𝐝𝐞 𝐂𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐞𝐫𝐚 𝐕𝐚𝐜𝐜𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐂𝐚𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐢𝐠𝐧 𝐭𝐨 𝐓𝐚𝐜𝐤𝐥𝐞 𝐎𝐧𝐠𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐎𝐮𝐭𝐛𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐤
In response to the ongoing cholera outbreak that has affected the nation since October 2022, the Ministry of… pic.twitter.com/7Zk52fB8Hw
— Ministry of Health (@MOH_Kenya) August 2, 2023
The vaccination drive will focus on the eight most-affected counties, including Homa Bay (Suba South), Kajiado (Kajiado East), Marsabit (Moyale), Nairobi (Kamukunji and Embakasi Central), Wajir (Wajir North), Mandera (Mandera East), Machakos, and Garissa.
According to data from the ministry Garissa has recorded the highest number of cases with 2,853, Mandera 2,264, Nairobi 2,177, Wajir 945, Tana River 780, Kiambu 539, Machakos 491, Kajiado 398, Homa Bay 335, Mombasa 210, Siaya 162, Meru 138, Uasin Gishu 137 and Marsabit 112.
Other counties include Samburu with 60 cases, Kisumu 56, Nyeri 55, Murang’a 46, Isiolo 31, Kitui 27, Kirinyaga with 17, West Pokot and Kwale with 16 cases each, Nakuru 15, Busia 11 and Bomet with six cases.
In February 2023, a successful first round of vaccination was conducted, in which 2.2 million people above the age of 1 were vaccinated in Nairobi, Garissa, Tana River, and Wajir.
This resulted in a significant reduction in cholera cases in those areas.
Building on this progress, the International Coordinating Group (ICG) has provided the Ministry of Health with 1,533,199 doses of the Oral Cholera Vaccine for the upcoming campaign.
What is Cholera?
Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal disease. It can kill within hours unless it is sufficiently treated.
According to the World Health Organisation, it is caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. It remains a global threat to public health and an indicator of inequity and lack of social development.
It is an extremely virulent disease that can cause severe acute watery diarrhoea. It takes between 12 hours and 5 days for a person to show symptoms after ingesting contaminated food or water (2). Cholera affects both children and adults and can kill within hours if untreated.
It is an easily treatable disease. The majority of people can be treated successfully through prompt administration of oral rehydration solution (ORS).