Kenya: Cholera Outbreak - East Pokot/Turkana Sitrep No.1

Situation Report
Originally published


This report covers the period 23 Nov- 14 Dec 09, and has been issued with information received from the Department of Health and Sanitation (DPHS), National Disaster Operation Centre (NDOC), Crisis Response Centre (CRC), Kenya Red Cross Society(KRCS), WHO, UNICEF, OCHA and media reports.

Key Highlights

- 205 confirmed cholera cases and 26 deaths reported in East Pokot and East Turkana

- Cholera Treatment Centres to wind down as admission rates decline

- Accessibility to affected settlements hamper response

- Containing the outbreak presents challenges to humanitarian actors

Situation update

The cholera outbreak in East Pokot and Turkana East has affected 205 people, 10 of which are still admitted and receiving treatment at the Kapedo Cholera Treatment Centre (located in Turkana East) as at 14 December. Twenty -six (26) deaths have been recorded, of which only 3 occurred at the treatment centre. Many more deaths are believed to have happened in remote and inaccessible areas. By 10 December, Ministry of Public Health reported a decline in the number of new cases at health centres in Pokot. The decline is not indicative of whether the outbreak has slowed down or inability of residents to access health centres. Ground search and rescue operations for the sick residents are also hampered by rough terrain. The outbreak is linked to contaminated water sources.

The first suspected cholera outbreak erupted around the 13th of November, when few Pokot men in pursuit of cattle raiders, fell sick from diarrhea & vomiting. Cattle raiders from Turkana attacked Chepkurule area in East Pokot and raided an unknown number of cattle. In response to the raid, young men were mobilized to rescue the cattle but five of them fell sick with cholera-like symptoms which led to the suspension of their pursuit. Four men are reported to have died on their way back. A fifth man died upon return home and few days later on 22 November, his wife also died from similar symptoms. On 26/27 November, the Kenya Red Cross Society supported MoH to treat over 64 cases of cholera-like symptoms, and also travelled with MoH on a migration route taken by the sick residents. KRCS and MOH reported that the terrain and isolation of the areas affected made it very difficult to access the sick, and for the sick to access health centres located some 70 kilometres away. Reports of more sick people heading to different directions to seek help were received, which prompted the Provincial Administration with support from the Kenya Army and KRCS to start search and rescue operations. On 28 November, MoH and KRCS also set up an operation base at Kapedo health centre to manage the cholera the cases. Nasorot, Nadome and Lomelo were worst affected.

On 3-5 December, the GoK's National Disaster Operation Centre (NDOC), Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, the Rift Valley Provincial Public Health Officer and OCHA conducted a joint mission to Kapedo and Nadome areas to understand the situation better and assess the level of response and gaps. Meetings were held with the Kenya Red Cross Society, District Commissioners from Pokot and Turkana East, Ministry of Health and other partners who have been responding to the outbreak.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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