The warning by the World Health Organisation (WHO) over the apparently unstoppable spread of cholera in Tanzania should act as a wake-up call for health authorities to spring into action. For more than four months now, the disease has slowly but steadily spread around the country, killing scores of people.
Despite this disturbing situation, authorities have not responded with the necessary urgency. There doesn't seem to be ample public education on how to control the deadly disease that is spread by bacteria through poor hygiene.
Though there is a national task force set up by the ministry of Health to manage the outbreak, very little has been achieved in the form of house- to- house social mobilisation activities.
The biggest challenge yet remains in ensuring water availed to the people is safe for domestic consumption. Although this might be achieved easily in urban areas, health authorities need to double their efforts in rural areas and urban slums where such services are generally non-existent.
This is especially true for Dar es Salaam, where recent demolition of unplanned structures has pushed thousands out of the sanitation systems, leaving families exposed to the disease.
Together with overhauling sanitation systems in the country, health officials will now need to ensure chlorine testing and water chlorination are implemented to improve the access to safe water by millions of Tanzanians.
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