Kenyan medics and health researchers have been challenged to arm themselves with relevant knowledge to deal with parasitic, hospital acquired infections and other infections affecting military troops either in the war or returning from operations to reduce the risk of further spreading infectious diseases to their fellow countrymen.
During the Kenya Defense Force Health and Security conference held in Nairobi, health experts were also challenged to develop modern health systems that deal with surveillance, prevention and response to the infectious diseases.
“Susceptibility to infectious diseases has for long been a concern for our military and this threatens the health and readiness of the service members,” said Maj. General George Nganga, the KDF director of Medical Services, who urged medics to develop and utilize preventive measures available to protect service members and their beneficiaries against often life-threatening diseases.
“It remains sickening that some of our troops eager to return to their families and friends after participating in incursions, and who report no medical problems at the time of deployment, come back with symptoms of infections that might have been contracted during the operations.”
He said although infectious disease preventive measures for KDF soldiers in the operations had been largely successful; there was need for clinicians to stay watchful for multidrug-resistant infections which could have severe consequences in the forces.
“We are learning constantly, and we learn with each war, but we learn during peacetime too, while military puts a fair amount of resources in infectious disease research and preventive medicine, the government needs to come in to improve our outcome by injecting more resources to support infectious disease research laboratories among other mitigation measures.”
He called on the Ministry of health to develop more monitoring and responsive mechanisms within the military camps to deal with risks associated with infectious diseases like TB and Malaria which had in the past led to death of officers.
“At the end of the day, it remains our overall mission to improve security health within and beyond our borders in order to minimize the risk to our personnel while enhancing infectious disease prevention.”