Malaria Outbreak Kills 4 at Kenyan Refugee Camp

A malaria outbreak has killed at least four people at a refugee camp in northwestern Kenya, according to local residents and health officials.

Hundreds of people have come down with the infectious disease at the Kalobeyei refugee complex in Kenya’s Turkana County.

“Already four to six people have died due to malaria,” Galama Guyo, a health care professional at Kalobeyei, told VOA’s Horn of Africa service. “Weekly, we report more than 200 malaria cases, especially people with low body resistance [immunity].”

Health care providers do not have enough drugs to treat patients, and there is no major hospital in the area, so some patients have to travel to up to 30 kilometers for treatment, he said.

The type of malaria hitting the camps is plasmodium falciparum, one of four types common in the Horn of Africa, said Guyo.

The U.N. refugee agency is tracking the situation at Kalobeyei and the nearby town of Kakuma, says the agency’s communication director in Nairobi, Yvonne Ndege.

“Our health partners have mobilized some resources to ensure they procure enough drugs and diagnostic kits to treat the increased cases of malaria that we have seen in Kakuma and Kalobeyei,” she said. “UNHCR is also planning to provide additional drugs to help address the situation.”

Located in a very arid region, Kalobeyei hosts thousands of African immigrants, mostly from Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan.

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