Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cholera in Africa: More crappy news

It really (really) pisses me off when cholera is in the news - again. Cholera should not exist. It angers me even more when it is featured so prominently in so much of the reporting reaching my desk from many parts of the developing world, particularly in Africa. Cholera is preventable. If cholera kills someone, the world is doing something wrong.

The latest piece of shitty news is this disturbing piece from Kenya, where cholera is hitting a little too close to home:

Obama Brother May Have Cholera

and from the Associated Press:

Official: Obama's half-brother falls ill in Kenya

We hope that it is just a nasty case of diarrhea. We hope that this will be treated (as it can be quite easily) and that Malik Obama will be back at work soon. We hope that it is not cholera, and if it is, we hope even more that it doesn't kill him like it does many other Africans, preventably.

Keys to cholera:

- It is dangerous (viz. fatal all too often).
- It is easily spread through lack of simple safe drinking water and sanitation facilities.
- It is treatable.
- Most importantly, it is preventable, and both the international donor community and every government throughout the developing world can do something about it.


This steady stream of cholera in the news has to stop. Cholera mortality and morbidity must stop. The White House is in an extraordinarily strong position to contribute to the elimination of fatal cholera and other diarrheal disease. For an interesting and related take on unnecessary and preventable childhood mortality please see Nicholas Kristof's piece Good News: Karlo Will Live. And call the White House.

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