I have been very reluctant to join in the ongoing debate on the cholera endemic that has hit more than half of Kenya. I have not failed to join in the discussion because I am assuming like nothing is going on, but it is because of the agony the reports and discussions bring to me.
Reading articles on the deaths and pain the disease has inflicted in the hearts of innocent Kenyans takes me aback. How can thousands of people succumb to illnesses that we can control? Now, feeling like a stakeholder in the water sector, unwillingly joins the conversation, with much pain in my heart.
We are living in the 21st century where every Kenyan should at least have easy access to safe water. This is something that has not been established despite the fact that the country has the capacity to do it.
Report by the ministry of health indicates that at least 216 people have succumbed to cholera since June last year. This is now the number that has been reported. I believe that there are many other deaths that were not reported. This is very shameful to a country bragging to be independent for more than 50 years.
The country is trying to device ways to tackle killer diseases like cancer and diabetes that are taking off our beloved friends and relatives. If we cannot manage a disease like cholera, then I am worried that we might not be able to manage cancer and the rest.
Our country Kenya is very rich with resources adequate for every Kenyan to enjoy life. What needs to be done is just to exploit the resources fully. Cholera is a disease that can be controlled through proper hygiene measures and access to safe drinking water by communities.
There are some areas in this country where water table is near the surface and hence abstracting it for people to use is very easy. This is something that can be done through partnerships between governments, both at national level and county level with private sectors. If the partnership is enhanced, then I can say without any doubts that we will have frustrated the disease outbreak and spread.
If we can manage to treat and take care of thousands of cholera patients, each one of them spending a minimum of Shillings 2000, how then can we say that we cannot prevent outbreak of the disease? Prevention is better than care. We have no reason to sit back and watch as we spend millions of shillings to treat the disease instead of using the money to come up with measures to control it.
Kenya is for all of us and we need to join hands; private and public sectors to ensure that every Kenyan has ample access to safe drinking water. If we manage to tackle the water problem, then the other hygiene measures like proper handling of food, fruits and anything else going to the stomach will follow.
Let us stop pointing fingers at each other because cholera is a common problem that affects all of us. Let us take responsibility and say no to more cholera infections.
David Mwaura, Communications Manager; AfricAqua Limited