Cholera Cases: Tackling Root Causes

Alarm bells may never be loud enough as long as certain challenges continue to threaten the health of the population. Over the years, people have helplessly watched their loved ones die as a result of illnesses which could be prevented. One such disease is the the repeated cases of cholera outbreaks reported in certain parts of the country.     
Regions like the Far North, South West, North West, Littoral and the Centre have since August 2022 suffered from cholera epidemics with statistics showing scores of dead. Public health officials talk of a total of 14,885 notified cases and 298 deaths recorded in 47 week. Such figures, coupled with the fact that the disease could be a cross-border problem, can erroneously serve as an excuse for some to think that it can be a negligible concern. Unfortunately, the recurrent nature of the disease cannot leave any one indifferent. In the past, this column argued about the sense of shame that surround cholera looking at its causes and the consequences on society. Needless talking of the cost of treatment and the growing number of deaths caused to communities.     
In some of the localities where the disease has been most severe, people have pointed accusing fingers at insecurity which has not permitted the population to have access to adequate health and hygienic conditions. While admitting such justifications, it is also evident that the general sanitation sitaution in most urban, suburban and even rural communities has often left much to desire. Beginning from some rural areas, people easily share the same sources of drinking water with their domestic animals in certain localities. Those are practices which easilly favour the spread of any water-borne disease and cholera happens to be a good example. 
In situations where the lack of potable water is accompnanied by the absence of toilets or the wrong use of such places where humans have to answer nature’s call, the result can be obvious in terms of the spread of diseases. There have been instances whereby people defecate in the wild only to have flood waters bring back such mess to them at home. It therefore poses a serious health risk when poor hygienic conditions are accompanied by rough atmospheric conditions. Over the years, the spread of cholera was identified with specific localities and the blame was on climatic imprecisions. With the recurrent nature of the problem in the past years, there is the urgent need to examine the root causes of the epidemic and resolve them so that people can have other reasons to worry about and not remain in constant fear of a health problem that is well known and can be tackled, why not eradicated. 
Various vaccination campaigns have been organised accross several regions by government against cholera. But the fact that such a public health risk has kept posing hardship to the population means that it remains a source of great concern to the population.     
Apart from the Ministry of Public Health, the International Red Cross and foreign partners like the Response Emergency Fund and even the World Health Organisation, have at various points brought their contribution to the table in an effort to keep cholera at a safe distance from especially vulnerable persons. In spite of a combination of actors, the solutions are yet to be definitive. This creates a feeling of vulnerability that does not speak well in the ears of the public and even potential tourists and investors. Any annoucment of such a disease in the country quickly points to water scarcity or poor hygiene standards. One simply has to look at the drainage patterns in certain urban centres to understand how bad the situation is. Waste water from homes is often channeled unto the streets, gutters full of dirt, water sources adjacent to toilets, Kitchens constructed near toilets and children playing close to garbage bins. With a cocktail of mess surrounding residential areas, it requires a combination of forces and a heightened sense of consciousness at the l...



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