Cholera in Nyanza: Kenya Red Cross intervenes

Cholera in Nyanza: Kenya Red Cross intervenes

Nairobi, 29th April 2008 – Nyanza region has had cholera outbreaks since last year where the first case was confirmed in Suba on 2nd December 2007. The outbreaks have been reported in 10 districts. The affected districts are Nyando, Homabay, Suba, Migori, Rongo, Bondo, Kisumu East and West, South Kisii and Bunyala Districts.

The Ministry of Health has been working with partners in the region to curb the spread of and control cholera in the region. Partners working closely with the MOH in cholera interventions are the Kenya Red Cross, Care Kenya, UNICEF, World Vision and MSF, among others.

The Kenya Red Cross health team has been supporting the MOH in controlling the outbreak in various ways. The following cholera kits were supplied to the MOH in Homabay (4 kits), Migori (4 kits), Kisumu East (2 kits), Suba (2 kits) and Busia(13 kits)), and other medical supplies.

Besides, water purifiers (Aqua tabs and Pur) have been supplied to various districts in the region. MOH Suba was given 6,400 tablets of Aqua tabs and 2,400 sachets of Pur. MOH Migori was provided with 24,000 aqua tabs and 10,000 sachets of Pur. MOH Kisumu East was supported with 10,000 sachets of Pur and 24,000 Aqua Tabs. Other support accorded to the Ministry was transport services (vehicles) to transport staff and materials (latrine slabs) to the field in order to improve sanitation facilities in the community in order to prevent cholera.

Kenya Red Cross health team is working with the Ministry of Health in the affected districts to sensitize the community on the measures of preventing cholera outbreaks, signs and symptoms of the disease and its mode of transmission. The districts being covered are Nyando and Kisumu East.

The Society has provided a public address system plus a team of eight volunteers and a health officer who are moving around in the affected areas of the districts sensitizing the community on cholera. The team carries out demonstrations on the use of water purifiers (Pur and Aqua tabs) and distributes the same to community members. At least 6,000 Aqua tabs and Pur sachets have been distributed within the last week, while 4,200 people have attended cholera sensitization health education meetings.

Key messages emphasize on:

– Transmission of cholera.

– Preventive and control measures for cholera and other diarrhoeal diseases, with emphasis on the importance of water treatment at household level, personal hygiene (hand washing) and food hygiene as well as environmental sanitation.

– Signs and symptoms of cholera.

Strategies in social mobilization and sensitization

– Use of public address system

– Plays/ skits

– Songs

– Demonstrations

After assembling the community members at one point, health education is conducted by the Ministry’s Public Health officers or Kenya Red Cross health officers. Apart from conducting health education to the communities, the water purifiers (Aqua tabs and Pur) are distributed to the people to enable them treat water for domestic use. A demonstration on how to use the water purifiers is also conducted to assist the community use the right dose of Aqua tab/ Pur for the correct quantity of water. The team is working continuously with the MOH in the region to prevent cholera cases and curb more deaths.


The major challenge facing the cholera activities in Nyanza Region is inadequate funds. There is need of funds to pay volunteers and to purchase fuel for the public address system.


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