El Nino Warning Prompts Health Ministry to Enhance Disease Surveillance

September 4, 2023

In response to last week’s weatherman’s warning of anticipated heavy rainfall caused by El Nino conditions across different regions of the country from October to December 2023, the Ministry of Health has bolstered its surveillance efforts to address potential health emergencies.

Addressing the media last week, Kenya Meteorological Department’s Director General David Gikungu said that the long rains are expected to start in September and shall continue until January next year.

Historically, the climatic conditions associated with El Nino have heightened the susceptibility to cholera and other waterborne diseases, while also triggering significant communicable epidemics.

Mary Muthoni, the Permanent Secretary for Public Health and Professional Standards, has stated that the Ministry has intensified its preparedness efforts. She further noted that the ministry is actively monitoring the situation, specifically for waterborne diseases like cholera, with a focus on early detection of potential outbreaks.

The country has already experienced a cholera outbreak, with a total of 12,079 reported cases and 200 tragic deaths across 27 counties.

Mary Muthoni also mentioned that vaccination campaigns have been significantly ramped up to address both cholera and polio in regions vulnerable to outbreaks.

Furthermore, she emphasized the implementation of flood control measures as a crucial component of their emergency response plan.

These measures include ensuring that households have access to clean and safe water and that healthcare facilities are adequately stocked with medical supplies.

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