Educating rural folks on diseases critical

Letters, Normal

I WOULD like to commend the initiative taken by Bulolo MP Sam Basil to deliver K20,000 worth of medicine and other medical supplies to his electorate.
He took a wise and pro-active approach in view of the recent outbreaks of flu, dysentery and cholera in Morobe province.
I must say that the rural water supply system he initiated early this year in his electorate is paying off.
It is unfortunate that the Health Department officers have let the people down, especially those in the rural areas.
They failed to educate the people on how to prevent water-borne diseases.
While treatment and quarantine procedure is on-going in the affected areas, I have some suggestions to share with the relevant authorities.
Firstly, for an effective awareness programme, the dissemination of information must reach the people by involving village elders, theatre groups, NGOs and church elders among others, since most of the rural communities are illiterate.
We will not accomplish anything through radio or newspapers as most of the rural people are isolated and do not have access to this medium of communication or most of the communities do not speak pidgin or English and communication in their own dialects is required.
Secondly, since water is a major reservoir for all water-borne diseases, then awareness on a proper rural water supply and sanitation programme must be initiated so that all stakeholders realise why it is necessary to have a  safe rural water supply system.
Thirdly, a waste disposal system must be established to ensure there is no contamination with the rural water supply system.
This is vital to ensure there is no avenue for further transmission of diseases.
Finally, establish rural health facilities with attractive salary packages to lure doctors and community health workers.
Carrying out community work in the rural areas is totally different from the urban areas.
A follow-up monitoring programme to gather statistics is equally important.