Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Recurrent cholera outbreaks embarrassing


It has become customary for the rainy season, normally considered a blessing as farmers cultivate crops to replenish dwindling food stocks, to be littered with unfortunate reports of outbreaks such as those of cholera— a preventable disease that gives us a headache every year.
In the end, the rainy season has become synonymous with cholera, floods, the destruction of property, loss of lives, among others— quite an anti-thesis of blessings people associate with the rains.
But, then, we cannot blame the rains, for they come in their season and time. In fact, people, through public service institutions such as the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services, are fore-warned about the setting in of rains.
Surely, people are not just forewarned; they are fore-armed; hence, we have institutions such as the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA). The logic is that, after the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services has laid bare what the season has in store for the country in a particular rainy season, DoDMA should step in if the weather turns out to be untamable.
During the time of disaster, it is the expectations of Malawians that those entrusted with the responsibility of providing healthcare services should stand guard, ready to pounce on any disease that dares to wreak havoc.
But, since independence, health officials seem to fail in their role, as cholera cases continue to be registered. Already, even before we get to the mid-way point of the season, 157 cases of cholera have been registered, with four fatalities.
But the greatest portion of blame should go to us, health service-seekers, for failing ourselves and failing the nation. Through such simple acts as washing hands and ensuring proper hygiene, we can prevent cases of cholera outbreaks that, sadly, sometimes lead to death.
It is incumbent upon us to take all preventive measures to avoid falling prey to cholera. Surely, after years of bombarding us with preventive messages on how we can prevent diseases such as cholera, we must know better.
Sadly, this is not the case as some people continue to play with hygiene, at the expense of themselves— who lose out when they fall sick— and the government, which has to dig deeper into its coffers to provide finances in a bid to tame outbreaks.
For once, let us go back to our senses by minding our body and surroundings. It could save us a lot, in terms of enjoying good health and saving public resources. We cannot go on falling prey to cholera as if it takes us by surprise.
Once we do this, the benefits of robust health will soon replace the alarms of cholera outbreaks.

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