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Undeveloped nations are faced with the challenge of accessing clean drinking water. Lack of understanding in the importance of practicing hygienic standards of living is a major setback to the efforts of preventing diseases that are spread through contaminated water.
In most cases, you will find that many people in these countries use water from rivers, springs, or street vendors for their domestic use. This water may contain harmful substances such as waste materials dumped in water sources, which can easily cause diseases (Hogan 1). Cholera, intestinal parasites, and typhoid are some of the major waterborne diseases. They are infectious and their impact is fatal both economically and on human health.
A case study
In 1996, the state of Kano in northern Nigeria was hit by an epidemic of acute diarrhea, which was later confirmed to be an outbreak of cholera (Hutin, Luby and Paquet 1). The Nigerian ministry of health and some non-governmental organizations stepped in to ensure that curative and preventive measures were undertaken. A case study on the patients showed that the highest number of infection was in children less than 5 years.
According to this study, the main exposures were failure to wash hands with soap before meals and drinking water from street vendors (Luby, Agboatwalla, Raza, Sobel, Mint, Baier, Hoekstra, Rahbar, Hassan, Qureshi, & Gangarosa 127). Restriction on movement and access to the affected area affects trade and the loss of human life and deteriorated health is a major blow on the economy and on the quality of human life.
These cholera outbreaks have affected many places globally such as Chad, Haiti, and Cameroon among others; the major cause being poor sanitation of the individuals living in these countries. Likewise, the undeveloped countries are more prone to these epidemics.
Due to this and other frequent cholera outbreaks, the state commissioner for health was ordered to tour and assess the affected areas. The order was given by the assembly of the Adamawa state house. The ministry of health chlorinated wells and bore holes, and disinfected public toilets in the affected areas. Kwamoti cautioned that besides the efforts of leaders to provide clean water for their people, the people should also learn to live hygienically.
The following technological fixes were put in place during the Inter-country Meeting on Cross-border Public Health Issues held in Abuja, in October 2010. Dr. Peter Eriki- WHO representative of Nigeria highlighted that the acquisition of the IDSR (Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response) and the IHR (International Health Regulation), which was revised in 2005 should be implemented in the member countries.
The member countries were expected to share data, resources and overcome barriers that hinder cross border harmonization. Some of the management measures include health awareness campaigns in which residents are enlightened on the need to adopt clean living habits. These include washing hands with soap, boiling and chlorinating drinking water (Han, Hlaing, Kyin and Saw 82; Clemens and Stanton 125).
The government of Nigeria funded the national campaigns to educate the public on preventive measures against cholera. In addition, methods to control the epidemic in the country were also highlighted. The health promotion officers visited homes using megaphones and motorcycles to teach the rural communities. Drugs were dispersed and health officials were deployed in affected regions. The government has put effort in availing clean water to its people.
This solution can be used in any part of the world. It is easy to implement and highly effective. There are limitations which the stakeholders are facing in controlling the cholera epidemics in Nigeria. One of the limitations is that the pathogens causing cholera are transmitted in different ways and some are not identified. The second limitation is that during outbreaks, risk factors are not identified since the cases are not investigated with epidemiological techniques
Based on the above discussion, the major causes of cholera are failure to wash hands with soap before meals and drinking contaminated water. Measures employed to curb these causes are educating people on the importance of personal hygiene, providing water to the people, and chlorinating wells and boreholes
Clemens D. John and Stanton F. Bonita. An Educational Intervention for Altering Water-Sanitation Behaviors to Reduce Childhood Diarrhea in Urban Bangladesh: Application of the Case-Control Method For Development Of An Intervention. American Journal of Epidemiology Volume125, Issue2 Pp. 284-292.
Han Myo, Hlaing Thein, Kyin Lay Myat,and Saw Than.. Hand Washing Intervention to Reduce Ascariasis In Children. Department of Medical Research, No. 5, Rangoon, Burma.
Hogan Michael PhD. (Lead Author); McGinley Mark (Topic Editor) “Water Pollution”. In: Encyclopedia of Earth. Eds. Cutler J. Cleveland (Washington, D.C.: Environmental Information Coalition, National Council for Science and the Environment). November 5, 2010. Web.
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Hutin Yvan, Luby Stephen and Paquet Christopher. “A Large Cholera Outbreak in Kano City, Nigeria: The Importance of Hand Washing With Soap and the Danger Of Street-Vended Water.” Journal of health and water Jan 1, 2003. March 31, 2011 <https://iwaponline.com/jwh/article/1/1/45/1791/A-large-cholera-outbreak-in-Kano-City-Nigeria-the?searchresult=1>
Luby, Agboatwalla, Raza, Sobel, Mint, Baier, Hoekstra, Rahbar, Hassan, Qureshi, & Gangarosa. Microbiologic Effectiveness of Hand Washing With Soap In An Urban Settlement, Karachi, Pakistan. New York: National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2001. Print