Cholera in Cuba
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Santiago – cholera is on the rise

Santiago: cholera is on the rise
LOURDES GÓMEZ | Santiago de Cuba | 5 Nov 2015 – 6:46 pm.

Rumors of daily deaths, frenzied medical activity evident in every
neighborhood, and properties surrounded by lime are the order of the day
in Santiago de Cuba.

Rumors of daily deaths, frenzied medical activity evident in every
neighborhood, and properties surrounded by lime are the order of the day
in Santiago de Cuba, where cholera is an elusive threat that besets us,
and we do not know where it will attack next.

It seems that cholera is here to stay. Since its appearance more than a
year and a half ago, its eradication, like that of dengue fever, has
proven a difficult goal to achieve. There are more than a few who say it
is already endemic. The sources of contamination are unclear, as the
disease arises randomly in various parts of the city. What is clear is
that the hardest-hit neighborhoods are poor and marginalized.

It is no secret that a lack of sanitation is the primary cause of the
epidemic. The contamination of food and water with feces and their
consumption by humans is a result of poor drainage systems and a lack of
basic hygiene measures, as confirmed by a general practitioner in her
daily tour of houses to investigate possible outbreak sources and
diseases: “The hygiene is appalling, with garbage and sewage water
everywhere. We’ll never put an end to the epidemics under these
conditions.” The immediate solution is to call for volunteers to perform
sanitation work next Sunday.

The city’s poor hygiene is also recognized by the authorities and the
press. In a recent broadcast of “En línea contigo,” aired on local
television and welcoming the Party’s top secretary in the province, over
360 blockages of sewage lines were acknowledged, with waste water
flowing into the streets of Santiago de Cuba. The program featured
disturbing footage of the consumption of greenish waters drawn from the
Contramaestre reservoir; a liquid that, ironically, the local people
must actually purchase.

Santiago authorities cannot cope with the problem, despite the hiring of
new staff. They blame the crisis on the company’s lack of material
resources and subjective problems, which is hard for victims to understand.

The reality is that the root problem is the deficient state of the
city’s sewage systems and drains, whether due to their age, poor
installation work, or outright absence in neighborhoods like Altamira.
These factors are compounded by the lack of proper personal hygiene
habits stemming from a lack of running water.

A primary school teacher gave a clear example, complaining that her
students could not wash their hands after using the bathroom at school.
She told their parents that all she could do was to force them to wash
their hands with water the children brought with them to drink.

Despite the health authorities’s best efforts, cholera is spreading. The
intense drought is the main cause, as without water it is hard to
maintain standards of hygiene.

Source: Santiago: cholera is on the rise | Diario de Cuba –
www.diariodecuba.com/cuba/1446741978_17933.html

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