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IGAD Ministers in Charge of Health to Devise a Regional Preparedness Scheme against Outbreaks

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Residents gather to collect water at a contaminated reservoir in a file photo. REUTERS/Ismail Taxta

Nairobi: The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), with support from the UNOCHA and the UNDP, will be holding a ministerial level meeting a Regional Preparedness and Response for Outbreaks and Epidemics on July 13th at Nairobi Hilton Hotel starting at 09:00.

The Ministerial meeting is preceded by a Meeting of Experts of surveillance and response system of IGAD Member States, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNOCHA, UNDP, and the Kenyan Red Cross that started this morning at Nairobi Hilton Hotel.

IGAD-UNOCHA-UNDP are convening this urgent IGAD Ministerial Meeting to discuss the current Cholera outbreak and other communicable diseases in Mandera County of Kenya and surrounding areas, including across the borders to Ethiopia and Somalia.

The expected Outcome of the Meeting is to develop immediate, midterm and long term measures to prevent a further spread of disease outbreaks in the Mandera triangle, namely border areas of Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and any others possible IGAD Member States.

The meeting will enable to develop a contingency plan with specific strategies aiming at responding, preventing and adequately controlling the current Cholera crisis and any other outbreaks in the region.The meeting will be a good opportunity to strengthen the overall integrated outbreak surveillance and response system in IGAD region.

Recent unusual heavy rainfall in parts of the Horn of Africa region, including Somalia and parts of Kenya, have increased the risk for waterborne and vector borne diseases.

The cholera crisis in Mandera County, Kenya, has escalated very rapidly in the last month. As of 7 June, over 200 cases and 16 deaths have been reported. Cases have also been reported across the border in Somalia. There is a high risk that the disease could further spread to nearby refugee’s camp or across border areas in Ethiopia and Somalia.

The outbreak has been further compounded by the simultaneous outbreak of Chikunguya which has affected close to 80 percent of the population in Mandera east including 50 percent of the health work force in Mandera town.


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