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Kenya forms task force to curb cholera outbreaks   

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s health ministry said Monday it has formed a multi-sectoral taskforce to respond to the cholera outbreak which has killed three people and resulted in 336 cases since May.

The ministry said the constitution of the taskforce is multisectoral and its main task is to respond to the ongoing cholera transmission, so as to kick cholera out of the country.

Director of Medical Services Jackson Kioko said the taskforce is expanded to include experts, ministry of water and irrigation, three UN agencies, Red Cross and AMREF Health Africa among others.

“In order to contain the situation and declare a cholera free country, the ministry of health has with immediate effect constituted a taskforce to oversee that the situation is put under control,” Kioko said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

He also announced a number of measures that included banning out-sourcing of food by hotels and other meeting venues from unlicensed or un-inspected premises or individual suppliers who have not met the health requirements.

Kioko also canceled all medical certificates for food handlers and banning food hawking and inspect all hotels in 21 days.

The latest measures come after authorities on Saturday confirmed that 33 cases of suspected cholera have been reported since July 12.

Nairobi County Government Health Executive Bernard Muia said 33 patients were admitted in various hospitals in Nairobi and doctors are expected to release final results on the suspected cholera on Wednesday.

National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and his Trade and Industrialization counterpart Adan Mohamed are among patients admitted to a Nairobi hospital with suspected symptoms of cholera.

Mohamed who had symptoms was however treated and discharged Friday evening.

Kioko said the latest incidence at the trade forum where the 33 persons ate food is being investigated and samples of food water and sewer have been collected from outsourced caterers and taken to the National Public Health Laboratory.

“The results are expected in the course of next week. The total number of affected persons is being compiled from different private health facilities in the city,” he said.

The ministry directed the County Health Departments across the Country to carry out water quality assurance by testing all the water sources including random and regular samples of the water from vendors.

Kioklo also ordered the health departments to carry out regular dialogue in cholera hot spots and all informal settlements in order to empower communities on health education, personal hygiene and sanitation.

“All hotels must maintain adequate sanitation and hygiene in food storage preparation and serving including valid medical certificate of food handlers and the disposal of solid waste. Health Officials will make random spot checks to ensure compliance to this directive,” Kioko said. 

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