With reported cases of Cholera outbreak in at least 8 counties, the onset of rains in an environment defined by heaps of garbage, blocked sewer lines and effluent directed into rivers can only worsen the situation. This is testament of the lowest levels to which hygiene standards have plummeted. By now, cholera should have been the least of our worries.
Since January 2019 to date, 1,463 cases of cholera have been reported, 81 confirmed and 8 deaths reported. Of these, Nairobi County had 65 cases, most of them staff at the Nairobi Hospital and 1 confirmed death.
There is irony in a supposedly sterile environment that hospitals should be, becoming the source of a cholera outbreak. According to WHO, 3,967 people contracted cholera in 2017 from which 76 died.
In 2018 through the ‘Nairobi Human Waste Flow Diagram’ report, 60 per cent of Nairobians were reported to have no connection to sewer lines and only 34 percent of human waste was treated. With 66 per cent of human waste going to Nairobi River along which vegetables and fruits are grown, a fertile environment for cholera is created. Regrettably, no remedial action has been taken following the release of the report.
Cholera claims between 21,000 and 143,000 lives annually, yet this is one of the diseases that can be prevented easily. What needs to be done is create hygienic environments; no garbage heaps, proper drainage and the provision of clean and safe drinking water. Food sources, markets and butcheries must maintain the highest possible hygiene standards.
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