The cholera ‘outbreak’ is not a health issue or solely a health issue. It is a symptom of all that is wrong with us, as a people and as a nation. We should not even be referring to it as an ‘outbreak, because it is now a part of our annual calendar of events and occurrences. Indeed, a medical officer speaking on one of the FM stations said something along the lines of ‘… this year’s cholera season.. ’!
Of course government will bear a big share of the responsibility. Who in his/her right senses will continue to construct open gutters and drains in a society that sees gutters as one more place to dump rubbish? How about the enforcement of all the laws and bye-laws on sanitation, including the provision of toilet facilities in all residential accommodation? we talk about ‘waste management’ system when we should be talking about our waste mismanagement systems. How else will you describe a system where waste disposal contracts are part of the executive’s patronage and contracts go not to the most able but to the most connected? Land fill management? Hit and go…. and on and on.
A people that waits to ‘educated’ to be clean is a people that is lost. We have abdicated responsibility for our own welfare and our lives to ‘government’. Basic practices that do not cost a pesewa, we refuse to do. And we continue to ingest shit and act surprised and outraged when cholera comes visiting? Haba.
No one is immune when it comes to cholera. Flies do not need visas to move from Sodom and Gomorrah to the flats at Trasaaco or wherever the elite live. Its everyone’s business.
I was really saddened when the Accra Mayor missed a golden opportunity to enlist the ‘middle class’ into the fight against filth. He should have been there to receive the petition of those who marched against poor sanitation in Accra and to ask them what they could also do in the fight. Presto, he would have made common cause with people with deep pockets, loud voices, loads of expertise and lots of influence. Unfortunately, our rulers take umbrage at the slightest hint of someone questioning them and end up cutting their noses to spite our collective faces!