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Developing CountryEssay

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Developing Country

Cholera in Kenya

Cholera and the populace

Cholera prevalence and poverty level

Cholera prevalence and the seasons

Cholera prevalence and the demography

Developed world vs Developing world

Development of a nation and health

Cholera in Kenya

Cholera is one of the common, but often ignored diseases yet it stalks the African nations and other developing and underdeveloped nations. It is only highlighted when there is a pandemic. Consequently, it kills many on its wake, only to be forgotten when it subsides.

Reading from 123 Independenceday (2010), Kenya is "Located across the equator on the east of the African continent- bordering Ethiopia to the north, Sudan to north-west, Somalia to east, Tanzania to south and Uganda to west. Kenya covers a total area of 582,650 sq km with land covering 569,250 sq km and water 13,400 sq km-, large plains and numerous hills. Central and Western Kenya is hosts by the Great Rift Valley while Northern Kenya is plain and arid"

The Ministry of Planning and National Development (2005, p.8) in Kenya puts the population of the country at about 32 million, of which 75-80% dwell in the rural areas engaging in agricultural activities. The population distribution fluctuates from 230 people per square kilometer in highly latent areas to 3 people per square kilometer in arid areas. The land is only 20% agricultural yet supports 80% of the entire population.

A vast 50% of Kenyans live below the poverty (Central Intelligence Agency, 2010). The percentage is confirmed by Index Mundi (2010) and also notes that the statistics/estimates are based on surveys and reports from sub-groups. Of interest is the high mortality rate due to AIDS pandemic. 43% of the population is between 0 to 14 years of age. The birth rate is also noticeably high in comparison to death rate (Demographics of Kenya, 2009).

The climatic conditions range from tropical along the coast to arid in interiors. The climate is marked by plenty of sunshine in most months of the year with rainfall mainly from April to June and some short rains from October to December; February and March being the hottest months in Kenya while July to August being the coldest.

The country is governed through a democratically elected central government every five years. The country is a host to slums and suburb estates in the suburbs of the major cities and towns like Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu Nakuru, Eldoret etc., to the posh urban dwellings with mansions and bungalows. Most of the upcountry folks are involved in agricultural economy. The Central Intelligence Agency (2010) puts the literacy level of Kenya at 85%.

1.1 Cholera and the populace

Cholera strains have been in Kenya for a very long time. Trop (1988, pp.484-90) traces the existence of strains of Vibrio cholerae O1, which is resistant to multiple antimicrobial agents to as early as between 1982 to 1985. Over the last decade the cholera epidemics have not slowed down and from 1994 to 2007 the outbreaks have been clonally related (Kiiru et al., 2009).

1.2 Cholera prevalence and poverty level

The cholera pandemic is prevalent in the rural areas of Kenya and the slums. These are areas where poverty is highly prevalent. There is acute shortage of clean water and adequate sanitary amenities in these areas.

The hygiene and sanitation is poor. The water is greatly polluted with feaces, in fact the Rachuonyo District Disease Surveillance Officer, Mr. Enock Kopiyo in an interview with Rose (2009) of Kenya News Agency is quoted to have admitted that "pit latrine coverage in the district stands at less than 20% prompting majority of residents to use bushes thus contaminating water sources." This is repeated throughout the country and because of the abject poverty among the citizens, it may go on unabated.

In the slum dwellings in the towns, there is poor disposal of sewage. Due to lack of proper sewage systems, raw sewage is often directed into open drainage systems, fields, rivers, and so on. This increases the risk of spread of cholera incase of outbreaks. Others empty their pit latrines into rivers.

Lake and river water is not as safe for drinking as the tap water and may expose the users to more risks of cholera infection. Unfortunately due to the poverty level in Kenya, they are unable to access clean tap water easily. As a matter of fact, even suburb areas with water pipes, there are frequent risks of water and raw sewage coming into contact. This is facilitated by open sewage disposal coupled with poor water piping with breaks and leaks. When the sewage flowing over pipes get the breaks the pipe water gets contaminated, potentially infecting the end users in the houses. This has happened severally one of them covered by the Nairobi Chronicles (2008. P1) and reported that "Umoja Innercore has been without water for close to two weeks after the supply was disconnected by the Nairobi City Water & Sewerage Company to avert a disease outbreak. Apparently, the estate's main water pipe somehow got entangled with a sewer line. This means that Umoja residents have used sewage water for cooking and washing. The Nairobi Water Company last week said its engineers were working to restore water supply to Umoja Innercore."

There is rampant food vending by carts, hand or along the road side particularly in the poorer suburbs and slums. Sadly, the hawked food is not always in the clean environment or prepared in a clean surroundings. This makes it more susceptible to cholera infection that can be spread on to the population that buys the food from the vendors.

From the above instances, it is observed that the poorer areas of the country experience or are more exposed to cholera outbreak than the richer areas with proper closed sewerage systems and clean tap water. They also have access to hygienic food and drinks.

1.3 Cholera prevalence and the seasons

Yanda (2005) in his report points out that the cholera outbreak is often higher in the rainy seasons particularly along the lake region. This is due to erosion of the cholera contaminated faeces into open water sources. Many people do not use toilets and therefore the human waste is swept into the water sources, exposes them to high risk of cholera infection when they use un boiled water.

It is further noted that many pit latrines get flooded during heavy rains some collapsing. This result in the waste spreading allover the surrounding environment and more often ending up in water bodies.

1.4 Cholera prevalence and the demography

There have been various cholera epidemics in Kenya; most of them traced along Lake Victoria region and the coastal regions. This is due to use of contaminated lake water. This facilitates the cholera outbreak easily among the people living along the lake and along the coastal region.

The swampy areas are also likely to suffer cholera pandemics since the same dumping of waste that the lakes are subjected to can happen in such areas. However, moving water like rivers are less likely, though not absolutely exempted, to transmit cholera or bring about cholera outbreak in a region.

Osei (2008) raises the relation between dumpsites and cholera prevalence. He says that there is a direct relationship between the concentration of dumpsites and the prevalence of cholera. He notes that with more dumpsites the cholera prevalence increases and the inverse is true and this case applies to Kenya.

1.5. Developed world vs Developing world

The developed countries have e relatively low prevalence of cholera and the epidemics are not as rampant and intense as the developing countries. For instance, the cholera situation in Australia is so minimal that in 2006, only three cases were detected and these were after 30 years (Bradley et al., 2007. pp.345-47). The report further clarifies that the disease is a rare one in Australia since 1991, such that if and when cases are detected, they are treated as an exemption rather than the norm like in Kenya and many African countries. Even with the three cases that were detected in 2006, it was given proper attention and traced back to have originated from whitebait that was bought from Indonesia.

The report confirms that the last documented outbreak f cholera in Australia was in 1972; however this was linked to food served on an international aircraft landing in Australia. The devastation was not wide though with only 22 reported cases. The first local detection of toxigenic cholera in Australia was noted in 1977, and was traced back to contaminated drinking water, and only one other person was infected by this. Over the succeeding ten years, only five erratic incidences of cholera that were presumed to be locally acquired.

Such minimal cases of cholera in Australia do not even display any social, economic or geographic distribution of the cholera infection.

1.6 Development of a nation and health

Development, in a nutshell, is the proper management of income and resources of a country in order to provide quality life to the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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