Mburukenge slums Mombasa

Mburukenge slums Mombasa (www.flickr.com)

The rainy season in Mombasa brought along with it unwanted issues. The weatherman announced the onset of the short rain season and said the rains would intensify fro mid-April till around June. It was also predicted that outbreaks of waterborne diseases were likely, unless preventive measures were taken. A few weeks since the rains started and Mombasa County is grappling with a cholera outbreak.

The disease has already claimed more than 5 lives while more than 20 cases have been reported at the Coast General Hospital and have received treatment. The cases were reported from Likoni and Mburukenge slums in Buxton. Meanwhile, Magongo, Likoni, Mshomoroni and Changamwe were reported as being high risk due to the sprawling slums developing there. Many residents of Mombasa now fear for their health as the cholera situation has not been brought under control.

Cases have now been reported from Miritini, Jomvu and within Mombasa Island. The poor drainage situation and the heavy rains are helping the spread of this deadly disease.

Congestion and poor sanitary conditions have been blamed for the outbreak.

“The way this place is littered with open sewers everywhere and we have our children playing outside, it is very easy for them to catch the disease. We have been given aqua-tabs by some people from the government to help control this cholera outbreak,”

said Manage Mulwa, a boda boda operator at Buxton who lives in the slum.

“The county government needs to come up with a solution fast. They should ban these women who sell foodstuffs by the roadside and in kiosks because they are high risk areas,” says Kelvin Mbela, a Mvita resident.

Alex Mwangi, who lives in Ganjoni and works in the Moi Avenue area thinks it’s time the government actually fixed the drainage system once and for all.

“Now that it is the rainy season, the rain water collects on the roads due to poor drainage. This water mixes with sewerage and then it is only a matter of time before everyone is sick,” he explains.

The County Health executive, Binti Omar, has been quoted saying the government was putting in place measures to contain the outbreak, including spraying garbage sites and setting up three isolation units in the Coast General Hospital to handle those infected. She also encouraged Mombasa residents to maintain high standards of sanitation and exercise extreme caution when buying food from open hotels.

The county executive reiterated the government’s commitment to keep the county disease-free. She added that the government was providing free chlorine at all health centers across the county for water disinfection.

It is hoped that these efforts, together with residents’ cleanliness and caution will help stem the disease from spreading further, infecting new people.

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