Deal with cholera fast

Cholera, a deadly but preventable and treatable disease, has struck again in several parts of the country, claiming 59 lives in the past five months, and prompting the ministry of Health to issue an alert.

The most affected areas are Western, Rift Valley, Nyanza and North-Eastern provinces.

With the onset of long rains, the disease is likely to spread much faster unless quick interventions are rolled out. For a start, the ministry says it has procured medical supplies worth Sh17 million to stem its spread. That is commendable.

However, recent media reports have demonstrated that health facilities in those areas are not properly equipped to handle cholera outbreaks. Nor do they have adequate staff to handle the patients.

Only recently, Kenyans were treated to news clips showing cholera patients sharing beds at the New Nyanza General Hospital in Kisumu, and many going without treatment. This simply showed utter unpreparedness.

Having mapped out the affected areas, the Government must quickly provide proper medical care for those infected.

Not only should it give more cash to hospitals, it should also start a campaign to sensitise people in those areas. Mobile clinics could also come in useful.

Public education remains critical in the campaign. Cholera is preventable and should not kill people so casually.

Personal hygiene is the key, while practices like hawking food and eating in public places like funerals must be discouraged.

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