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Enter(ic) Typhoid

Just for those few of us who don't know, Typhoid fever is a disease of poverty, and its now here !!

"It is a disease of poverty because it is usually associated with a lack of clean drinking water and poor sanitation. The disease continues to be a public health problem in many lower- and middle-income countries in Africa, the Americas, South-East Asia and the Western Pacific regions. Typhoid affects humans only, but is spread through human contact, contaminated water and unsanitary conditions. It can be spread by flies, and other pests, as they would come in contact with contaminated water, then appear in the house."

Symptoms include :

  • Weakness (can't walk to the clinic for help)
  • Diarrhea (need to run to the clinic for help)
  • Dehydration (need some more contaminated water)
  • Dizziness (not sure where the clinic is)
  • Cough (not great with diarrhea)

Whilst many cases will not be fatal, (suggesting those counting fatalities will divert the numbers to COVID related deaths) the infection spreads very quickly, and serious illness is the result. To Children, typhoid can be fatal. When doctors, nurses and hospitals are overwhelmed, patients are turned away and left to their own devices. Diarrhea, and the resultant dehydration, creates further infection when water is consumed which is already infected. Many of the poorest live in the rural areas, and contaminated drinking water is the only option, for re-hydration. The remote clinics are under-resourced, under-staffed, and under-trained facilities, and are often operational during day time only. Furthermore, they do not offer "in-patients". Testing can only be done for in-patients, since the test requires blood samples and a laboratory. Instead, they are told "Take two aspirin and come back tomorrow". These are the poorest of the poor, and no-one seems to care.

Is this the state of our national medical facilities?  Damn right. Report just through, is that the prized, respected and top medical facilities - 1 Military Hospital is now a white elephant.

“This (hospital) was considered a jewel of the defense force at the time. It boasts 500 beds, a prime facility meant to provide treatment to the President, deputy and their predecessors, as well as members of the military, veterans and their families.

It treated presidents of other countries but today the first floor lies in ruins."

“The first floor has 12 theaters, ICU (intensive care units), casualty departments that catered for emergencies and the trauma unit, laboratory, pharmacy, radiology and other ancillary services. All were taken out when the renewal project started"

Ok, back to the story on typhoid - how does this affect us city slickers? Well, it's already in the streets of Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town, and on the beaches of Durban.  Its in that little cul-de-sac where you live! Our drinking water is unsafe, even if it comes from the tap, so say the experts. Only boiled, "Jik-ed" water should be used, or, for the Minister of Water and Sanitation (DWS), the use of Reverse Osmosis (RO) refined water is a must. The rest of us must eat cake.

It all boils down to sanitation - the correct and proper handling of our wastewater. There is (or should be) no compromise. We are entering a "Cul-de-sac". No turning back, from this point on. Forget our medical facilities, since they are dysfunctional and dilapidated. Its all now in your hands (excuse the pun) - the common people.

Keep safe - it's a jungle out there.

PS. Scarab installed sewage treatment systems at 13 rural clinics a year ago, so I reckon there are at least 13 safe places in South Africa right now.


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