In Kenya, Dengue Outbreak Strains Medical Facilities, Anemia Hits Children in Dadaab Camp

The United Nations is rushing to address an outbreak of dengue in the drought-hit Kenyan district of Mandera, where 1,000 residents have already been affected according to the world body. But another report says the toll could be as high as 5,000, with those affected accounting for almost 75 percent of Mandera’s population.

The dengue outbreak is the latest blow to the region that is still struggling to cope with the ongoing drought and famine. The United Nations and other aid agencies have been warning of possible outbreaks of diseases in the Horn of Africa for the past weeks.

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The World Health Organization has already provided essential drugs to help treat the outbreak. But the only public hospital in the district is already above capacity. The hospital and the few private clinics in the area are providing supportive treatment for the mosquito-borne infection that has no specific treatment.

The disease is believed to have spread from neighboring Somalia where several deaths and cases have been reported this year. 

Meanwhile, in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp — which hosts nearly 470,000 refugees, most of them from Somalia — more than 40 percent of children under 5 years are suffering from anemia, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Reports of cholera cases in Dadaab camp have also been confirmed. All cases came recently from Somalia.

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About the author

  • Che de los Reyes

    As a senior staff writer, Che focuses on international development breaking news coverage as well as interviews and features. Prior to joining Devex, Che handled communications for local and international development NGOs and government institutions in the Philippines.