Though cholera is an easily preventable disease, World Health Organisation statistics reveal the disease claims between 21,000 and 143,000 lives every year globally.
Markets, eateries and butcheries, our major food sources, are among key drivers of cholera. This is because many of them fail to observe prescribed hygiene standards.
In Kenya, this, in part, is encouraged by the Government’s cavalier attitude towards ensuring food handlers are medically tested every six months before being issued with food handlers’ certificates per public health requirements.
The Standard has established that nearly all health centres listed by Nairobi County Government as places where medical examinations can be conducted, lack reagents for tests.
Consequently, some food handlers who pay the requisite medical tests fee of Sh1,000 don’t get tested. Not surprisingly, they are permitted to continue their businesses on the strength of a receipt that does not vouch for their fitness.
It would seem, therefore, that the concern of the county government is to raise money, yet money should only be paid when a service is being rendered. That being the case, the county government is wrong to take money from food handlers but fail to conduct requisite tests on them.
Besides equipping labs with reagents, the county government would do well to ensure garbage is collected and properly disposed of, that sewage is not released into streams. It must also provide safe drinking water to all.