BY CATHERINE KARONG’O
It is rather disturbing to see new cases of cholera being reported in Kenya daily. What is even more distressing is the deaths reported everyday as a result of the outbreak.
I am yet to understand how since the first case was reported in December last year, the situation has not been contained.
The Public Health Ministry has come out strongly to say the situation is under control and even accused the media of blowing it out of propotion.
Is reporting that 89 Kenyans have died of a preventable and curable disease misreporting? The fact that thousands of others have presented with similar symptoms, is it also misrepresenting the information?
I think the government is simply failing to take its rightful responsibility and has once again failed Kenyans. It has failed to safeguard one of the basic human rights- the right to health.
How many deaths will be enough for appropriate action to be taken? Are we waiting to go the Zimbabwe way where thousands of people died from this water borne disease?
I can’t claim to know much about the disease since am not a medical doctor but it is not rocket science to know that the disease is easily manageable, controllable and curable.
The first thing the relevant authorities need to do is ensure there is access to clean, safe drinking water for all. This should be in all parts of the country regardless of whether there is a cholera outbreak or not. This is not too much to ask, or is it?
Poor planning in the water sector is one major contributor to the current water shortage which has left many desperately searching for this much needed commodity.
And the desperation has led to many people using water regardless of the source. What else do you expect from such a situation?
Secondly, the authorities should ensure there is proper sanitation in all areas. It is no secret that most residential areas in the country do not have proper sewer systems. Many especially in the slums don’t even have toilets. How else does the government expect to contain the disease?
If, God forbid, there occurred a single case in one of Nairobi’s slum, there would be no stopping it. It would spread like wild fire and what would the government do? Try to put out a fire that could have been prevented in the first place.
Finally, the government should carry out aggressive campaigns especially in the rural areas to inform people that they can manage the disease at home before reaching a health facility.
Such campaigns should also advice and encourage locals to construct toilets for proper sanitation.
Educational Campaigns should also be carried out in slum areas to take the necessary precautions. But while at it, can the government ensure provision of some of these services.