Malaria kills 26 in North Horr, Marsabit


Malaria kills 26 in North Horr, Marsabit

At least 26 people have so far lost their lives in North Horr Constituency, Marsabit County while scores are receiving treatment following malaria outbreak.

After tests, 409 North Horr residents out of 579 tested positive for malaria with the most affected villages being Dukana, Ileret, and Loyangalani located hundreds of kilometres from Galacha Referral Hospital.

According to Marsabit Governor, Mohamed Mohammud Ali, those who have died did not seek treatment on time following the ongoing Sorio ceremony.

“It is true some have not reported to hospital [and] that is why we are dispatching a team of health officers to different villages,’’ said Governor Ali.

When a Citizen Digital team visited Dukana village on Wednesday, it found 28 victims still admitted at the Dukana Health Centre after 13 others had been treated and discharged.

Gumato Gulacha, a mother of six,  said she was brought to the health centre while unconscious and she has been in the facility for the last five days.

Gumato, who looked strong and happy,  urged her neighbours with malaria symptoms to stop their Sorio ceremonies and ensure they go to hospital.

Sorio is an annual ceremony to thank God for protection throughout the year and is believed to bring bad omen to the community if one is not within her community during the period. The ceremony ended on Thursday.

After the ceremony, most of the residents at Dukana village reportedly refused to go to hospital in order to ‘ward off’ bad omen.

Kenya Red Cross regional manager upper eastern, Talaso Chucha, said that they received  information about the outbreak a week ago and have been working with different partners to assist the people

Speaking to Citizen Digital, Chucha said they will be touring the villages doing intensive outreaches to ensure they sensitize the residence on importance of getting treatment.

“Because of the cultural background and this particular celebration season we will do outreach using the personnel. We have to ensure we get to the villages and if necessary we evacuate people  to referral hospitals,’’ said Chucha.

The head of the anti-malaria programme at the Ministry of Health, Dr Wako Dulacha, sounded a warning to all counties believed to be in seasonal transmission belt, namely: Samburu ,Turkana, Marsabit, Tana River and parts of Baringo.

Dr Dulacha said since the areas are less prone to malaria, the residents have very low immunity to the disease.

“Malaria in such regions comes in severe forms. We have provided all the anti-malaria drugs required and all the medicine needed and the response from different organization has been good,’’ added Dr Dulacha.

Dr Dulacha called on striking nurses to end their industrial action, saying it has disrupted provision of health care services to the people.

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Story By Tabitha Rotich
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