Cholera? Now? Here?
While the United States has worried about outbreaks of salmonella and E. coli over the past year, there has been an outbreak of cholera here in Mozambique. And not just in a rural, remote part of Mozambique. Here. In Maputo, both in the city and the province. I learned about the outbreak from this allAfrica news article.
Now I know that some of you only associate cholera with playing Oregon Trail. Cousin Claire dies in the Rocky Mountains while you are out hunting buffalo. But this is not a minor disease nor is this a minor outbreak. Four people have already died and 222 people have been identified as infected since October. The Ministry of Health is trying to disseminate information about improving food hygiene but it lacks the proper infrastructure to quickly and thoroughly educate the public. It will take some time before the behavior changes help to end the outbreak.
On a slightly brighter note, the UNDP’s Human Development Index has noted that climate change may not be as detrimental to Mozambique’s future as previously thought. The country is in the somewhat paradoxical situation of facing both more periods of drought and floods in the future. After the floods of 2000, the country put early warning systems in place that helped mitigate the damage and human cost of the 2007 floods, both caused by tropical cyclones in the Indian Ocean. Radio Mozambique also educates the public about disaster preparedness. Considering the rate of change for many other things in this country, this is a remarkable turnaround that is having and will have an definite positive impact on people’s live here.