By Derrick Kiplagat
Three inmates have succumbed to cholera while 30 others with symptoms have been isolated at the Shimo la Tewa Maximum security prison after an outbreak. According to the Coast Region Prison Commander James Kodieny those spotted with cholera symptoms are undergoing treatment.
“Cholera is so contagious so we can’t take them to the hospital. We are dealing with them locally. The situation has been put under control after the county government intervened and gave us medication.” said Kodieny on Wednesday.
Mr Kodieny said that the prime suspects to have brought the disease to the prison were the remandees taken in recently. He added that families of the deceased had been informed of their deaths.
Mombasa County Health Executive Binti Omar said the remandees started symptoms of the disease while at the prison. “They were rushed to the Coast General and Referral Hospital but succumbed. It has been confirmed they died from cholera,” she said.
The bodies of two inmates identified Hamisi Guzo Samba and Eric Omondi Odhiambo have since been taken to the Coast General Mortuary. Samba was facing a defilement case while Omondi was facing theft charges. The third victim has not yet been identified because the family had not been informed of his death by yesterday. An official has however stated that the third inmate died at the prison’s dispensary.
“If the family members suspect foul play they can conduct a post mortem. It is the only way to ascertain the cause of death,” he said. The official moved on to reveal that there have been cases of acute diarrhoea reported at the prison.
“Remandees interact with many people. We suspect they contracted the disease from the courts or outside this facility because those are the only public places they frequent.” he said.
Mombasa County Health Officer, Dr Swaleh Chidagaya has said none of the inmates who were serving their sentences has been infected. He also said that the county government was not taking any chances and said all the cells would be cleaned thoroughly. “We will clean the cells and courts. We are not taking anything to chance.”
Four patients were admitted to the isolation ward at the Coast General and Referral Hospital while two others were at Mwembe Tayari Health Centre.
A doctor from the Coast General Hospital has said the hospital had taken the necessary hygiene precautions such as cleaning using disinfectants, to curb the spread of the disease.
Since the outbreak, the Coast General Hospital has dealt with 79 patients.