Future of Water depends upon Cholera: 168 years of unsettlement

In 1854, Jon Snow concluded that poor water pump management was responsible for the cholera outbreaks. Although his legacy has influenced many lessons on water safety, globally, we still see cholera cases, and in 2016, over 130,000 cases were recorded, 54% of cases were from Africa (World Health Organisation, 2018a). These figures do not represent the true devastation cholera is causing as a public health worldwide concern, as many deaths or cases. Due to the severity of the disease, many victims die within 18 hours (Bland, 2018). Some cases may not be recorded due to poor communication within communities, avoidance of disclosure, or improving personal health. Thus, expressing the importance of tackling the disease, as millions globally have no access to clean water, fuelling the opportunity for cholera to spread.  

For the human population to flourish healthily globally, we need to act upon the chemical contaminants embedded into our water systems and focus on improving our water supplies globally. As suggested in the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs, water is a basic need for a healthy existence, yet a child dies every 15 seconds due to poor water sanitation. Cholera is still a significant public health concern, with regular outbreaks occurring in the 20th century as late as 2010, resulting in over 7,500 deaths, even with new technology advances to provide safer water. 

Previous research has summarised the importance of controlling cholera outbreaks and emphasized providing safer water supplies. Reviewing the limitations of why adequate water is not being provided may assist in learning to improve the management of water supplies in developing countries. Contributing to the accessibility of safer water will dramatically reduce the risks of water-borne diseases. World Health Organisation (2018b) recommends focusing on long-term solutions for cholera to develop a sustainable WASH solution to ensure the vital source: water is safe to drink, and good hygiene practices are adopted. For the human population to flourish healthily globally, we need to act upon the chemical contaminants embedded into our water systems and focus on improving our water supplies globally. 

Although cholera is successfully treated through oral rehydration solution and antibiotics, there are three simple ways of prevention: access to adequate sanitation reducing human waste in the water supply system, access to safe drinkable water and maintaining a basic hygiene standard.  Safe water access is a luxury and taken for granted, and future investigating into how to prevent further public health epidemics is needed to ensure every child has access to disease-free water. 

Globally better sanitation, cleaner water, and more funding into the public health systems could eradicate this 165-year-old disease. Although Jon Snow discovered cholera, society has yet to acknowledge that without tackling the issues of water diseases, cholera will remain a threat. nIn her latest report, Professor Dame Sally Davies’ as England’s Chief Medical Officer (2019, p.4) has a stark reminder for the world that “cholera is a killer in waiting’.

Reference List:

Bland, E. (2008) Satellites may health scientists predict outbreaks. [online]. [Accessed 11 August 2019]. Available at: <http://www.nbcnews.com/id/27090177/ns/health-infectious_diseases/t/satellites-may-help-scientists-predict-outbreaks/&gt;.

Davies, S. (2019) Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer, 2019: Health, our global asset – [Apartnering the progress. [online]. [Accessed 25 February 2022] Available at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/819333/Chief_Medical_Officer_annual_report_2019_-_partnering_for_progress_-_accessible.pdf.

World Health Organisation (2018a) A child under 15 dies every 5 seconds around the world. [online]]. [Accessed 25 Feburary 2022]. Available at: <ww.who.int/news-room/detail/18-09-2018-a-child-under-15-dies-every-5-seconds-around-the-world->.

World Health Organisation (2018b) Cholera. [online]. [Accessed 25 Feburary 2022] Available at: <https://www.who.int/gho/epidemic_diseases/cholera/en/&gt;.

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