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Change two things to eliminate water-related illnesses

posted 19 Jan 2016, 05:46 by RCN Uganda
Instead, we are going through some sporadic weather conditions, hot and dry periods, occasionally punctuated by some rainfall. And so harvesting the little that falls would provide water cannot give us comfort. Largely, January has had us yearning to access potable and palatable water.
These desire means that any source from where water flows, people are going to gather around with containers. With no attention paid to its quality. After all, water is supposed to be life. When this happens, we should begin to worry, as our promise to stay clear of water-borne diseases is being examined. Unprotected springs, dams and swamps provide us with cheap water sources.
That is why at dawn, a lot of people scavenge everywhere to fetch water. Then they get home and go about business usually. How collected water is handled is also a concern. Whether or not, the water is properly boiled or disinfected before use is not very easy to tell. But a lot of effort has been put to ensure that residents continuously consume clean and safe water.
Almost every household knows the basic step of boiling water before drinking. And attempting to visit every household to assess if this basic health practice is implemented is not possible, especially when they have the knowledge.
This leads me to the reasons why people still utilise water from unsafe sources. First, residents still fetch unsafe waters because their attitude and hygiene practice is poor. And second, because of laxity. So it is not going to be easy to change.
That is why with all the interventions made in water and sanitation, some practices stayed. Even with many education programmes, it has not been easy to stay clear of avoidable diseases. Thus, we see recurrence of cholera and other water-borne diseases because we are neglecting our small responsibilities. One elderly person once told me that he grew up drinking water collected from a well. That he never boiled it at any one time. And he has never fallen sick. This is the attitude shared by many. It means that the knowledge and practice of basic health science is not being taken seriously. The fact that one never falls sick shouldn’t mean that they are healthy. A number of hospitals are reportedly treating cholera, typhoid and other water-related illnesses.
In 2015, around this time, health centres in Makindye division were overwhelmed by typhoid. Later findings would indeed confirm that, communities were utilising contaminated waters. And it included prominent public places in the city. Despite wide media campaigns requiring people to treat water before drinking, or wash hands with soap after using toilets, and all, public attitude has not changed much. Therefore, it is no longer about the message. The missing things are; attitude and practice of basic health knowledge. This requires a review of current water and sanitation practices. So that attitudes and some practices can change. And recurrences of diseases will stop. Also, evaluate why, people still continue to fetch unsafe waters. Even with water rationing, households can still juggle water collection with the time of water availability. Have enough water to cover periods when it is not available. It seems costly to many. But it can even be more costly to continue accessing unsafe water sources. The two most important things are; change people’s attitude and the bad practice. So they can start to do the simple things, like boiling water before drinking.
Unless a deliberate attempt is made at altering attitude and practice, the cost of utilising contaminated waters will be more serious than paying for potable water. And our health centres will always be overcrowded with preventable diseases.
- See more at: http://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1415178/change-eliminate-water-related-illnesses#sthash.MAdqkw87.dpuf
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