WHO Issues Alert on Potential Increase in Food Contamination Illnesses Amid Floods

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has cautioned over the potential increase of illnesses related to food contamination.

In a statement dated Friday, May 10, WHO noted that the advisory was issued following the recent floods that have ravaged parts of the country.

Therefore, Kenyans were advised to stay vigilant and observe hygiene during this time when there is still ongoing rainfall.

According to data from the global body, 41 counties have been affected by floods with 55,575 households displaced.

Health CS Susan Nakhumicha during a meeting with Kenyatta National University Hospital (KNH) leadership on March 20, 2024

Photo

Ministry of Health

“Alert, there is a likelihood of increased illnesses associated with contaminated food diseases,” read the statement in part.

On its part, the Ministry of Health also noted that it prioritises food safety during the ongoing rainy season. The Ministry led by Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha detailed that it would be on the lookout for cases of diarrhoea among other ailments.

“Typhoid, dysentery, gastroenteritis, aflatoxin poisoning, brucellosis, and cholera are among the prevalent diseases plaguing our nation. These health risks underscore the critical importance of prioritising food safety management, especially in the wake of natural disasters like floods.

Key factors contributing to foodborne illnesses include cross-contamination, unsafe food sources, inadequate cooking, improper storage, and poor personal hygiene practices,” the Ministry stated.

Ways to Prevent Food Contamination

Among the ways through which Kenyans can prevent food contamination include; using clean water during the preparation of food.

Kenyans were also advised to clean surfaces where they prepare their food.

Additionally, the Ministry also acknowledged that the rains cause occasional power outages hence the need to constantly check on refrigerated food.

“Practice proper handwashing before handling food. Also, cook food thoroughly and store dry foods away from moisture.

“Refrain from consuming maize that has changed colour,” read the statement in part.

DATA POINT

The heavy rains began in mid-April. The situation led to floods in most parts of the country including Nairobi City. Here are some of the key figures related to the floods according to the latest data by the Office of the Government Spokesperson.

  • 44 – Cholera cases that have been reported during the floods.
  • 188 – People who have been injured during the floods.
  • 257 – Kenyans have lost them in the floods. This figure includes adults and children.
  • 54,837 – Households that were displaced during the flooding.
  • 293,661 – People who have been displaced during the ongoing floods.

A man assisting a family move to safety through a flooded Nairobi estate.

Photo

Courtesy



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