PM warns about link between unclean water and cholera


Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, wants special care taken to ensure that children do not play in unclean or stagnant water as cholera, which has now caused nearly 300 deaths in neighbouring Haiti, is essentially a water-borne disease.
Mr. Golding issued the caution in a statement to the House of Representatives, Tuesday (October 26), on the current cholera outbreak in Haiti which, up to then, had caused 284 deaths and affected 3,612 persons.
“I’m asking the Minister of Education to ensure that children are properly informed as to the practices that they need to observe, because they are particularly vulnerable. But, even equally important, our children in schools, in instances like these, are our best means of transmitting information to our families and households,” Mr. Golding asserted.
He said schools must be instructed to convey all the information and hygiene tips to students.
Mr. Golding said given the fact that some communities are still under water, the National Water Commission (NWC) and the Water Resources Authority (WRA) have been asked to conduct tests on stagnant water in those areas.
“The Water Commission has also been directed to monitor very closely, and take appropriate action on, those sewerage systems that were impacted by the flood rains, and which may have resulted in less than appropriately treated effluent being emitted into the waterways,” he said.
Mr. Golding noted that, in several areas that were inundated, pit latrines have, in some instances, been washed out, and the flooding has been so severe that water from them have become mixed with surface water.
“I’ve asked the relevant agencies – ODPEM, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Health, the Water Commission to pay special attention to areas like Chigwell, Forrest, New River, New Market, the Pedro River Area areas that are still under abnormal levels of water,” he said.
Mr. Golding stated that the Ministry of Health will be ramping up in those areas, particularly in its community outreach and public education programmes. However, he stressed that the best antidote against cholera is personal hygiene, including washing hands and making sure that food is cooked properly.
“Now is not a time for people to take the chance of eating raw food we must avoid contaminated water there is a discipline that we are going to have to impose on ourselves now, to ensure that we inoculate ourselves as far as possible from contamination,” he said.

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