Cholera is an acute infectious disease caused by certain strains of the Vibrio cholera bacterium through ingestion of contaminated water or food. It is usually marked by manifestations such as diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, dehydration, rapid heart rate, loss of skin elasticity, dry mucous membranes, and low blood pressure. Its symptoms appear between 12 hours and five days after consumption of contaminated food/water. Cholera has negative consequences or repercussions for both children and adults. It is, therefore, important to point out that it is deadly and can kill in just a few hours if left untreated. However, it heals quickly when treatment is given.
The case of Cameroon
A few weeks ago in Cameroon, a press release from the Ministry of Public Health reported 88 notified cases and 5 deaths, giving a case fatality rate of 5,68%. Yet, in all primary schools, hygiene and sanitary measures are taught. Despite this knowledge, drinking clean water still remains an option for some, while cleanliness and healthy eating are a big challenge for others.
Health awareness as a possible solution
Health awareness is, therefore, one of the solutions that can help alleviate cholera. This can be achieved through health education, which consists of making populations aware of the cardinal importance of health or showing them to what extent health is the most vital element without which it is impossible to study, work, or thrive in society. Subsequently, it would also be wise to strengthen communication around the measures to be taken to prevent cholera, such as:
- Regularly wash hands with clean water and soap before and after meals and after using the toilet.
- Washing raw food with portable water before eating or cooking.
- Proper cooking and reheating of food before eating.
- Potabilization of water through methods such as boiling, settling, filtration on cloth or through a filter, treatment by chlorination, sand filtration, etc.
In short, cholera is a deadly disease that needs to be taken rigorously. The fact that it exists and affects people living in certain underdeveloped countries more than those living in developed countries can be justified in two ways. Either because some countries lack financial resources or health awareness is not sufficiently promoted. Jaques-Bénigne Bossuet noted that health depends more on precautions than on doctors. Thus, general and personal precautions must be taken to avoid diseases in general and cholera in particular. Whether these precautions are taken seriously depends on the tone of emphasis of health education. If the populations are not made aware of the importance of their health, precautions will be neglected, and death will follow. If, on the other hand, people are regularly and strongly encouraged to take care of their health as the most precious asset they have, the precautionary measures will be better taken seriously and applied.