Cholera is the number one dreaded of the waterborne diseases. According to Dr. Asa Rop of Methodist Hospital in Juja, the most recurrent and reported health alert within Juja and its environs is Cholera. Cholera is contracted through the bacteria Vibro cholerae found without the surrounding. It is a cause for alarm claiming about 5 out of 20 lives of patients admitted due to rampant outbreaks within and without Juja.
With few medical institutions set in place to manage this constant and clearly stubborn menace, Juja residents have had to seek proper healthcare and Cholera treatment as far as Thika and Nairobi, a situation that would be considered cumbersome considering the hardships a patient already goes through during such an outbreak.
“Cholera is a slum disease,” says Dr. Rop. “That is to say Cholera can’t affect rich neighborhoods like Karen and will only affect poorly managed and congested locales like Juja. Why? Because of measures put in place to ensure comfort and proper health considerations, making it hard to get outbreak reports in rich hoods,” he adds.
Dealing with this menace will mean that stakeholders and the government come up with long lasting solutions that gear towards proper sanitation and hygiene, improved drainage and ensuring there is clean and safe water around Juja and other slums, like Kibera, prone to Cholera outbreaks.
According to the World Health Organization, Kenya has experienced multiple Cholera hits since 2014, Kiambu being among the most affected counties with a series of cases being report even as recent as between September to November this year. “We have had three serious cases of Cholera in the past week which we had to refer to Thika Level Five Hospital because we cannot offer full medical attention to these patients at the moment,” regrets Dr. Rop.
Since the cost of treating such an unpredictable disease is quite high even to medics, they advocate for preventive measures. As it has already been repeated doubtlessly, drinking clean water and observing a hygienic routine can go a great way in curbing Cholera. Jackline, a nurse at Gashororo Health Centre, a public Hospital in Juja, opens up about how hard it is to observe these preventive measures. “Even as we try to prevent an outbreak we encounter several problems. There is shortage of medicine, the hospital itself is within a slum it might be hard for me as a nurse to advice a patient to keep clean while we are within dirt,” emphasizes Jackline.
This might be an issue that needs to be discussed in depth if we want a permanent solution. Being self conscience of this prevalent disease, knowing the facts about Cholera is only a start to addressing the situation having in mind that it is dehydration that actually kills. It is therefore upon every one of us to manage the situation through observation of our surrounding, our consumption and taming the killer within!
Author: Odida Janet
Odida Janet is a 3rd year student at Jkuat Main campus pursuing BSc.Journalism.