Wednesday, February 13, 2013
THERE HAS NEVER EVER BEEN ANY REPORTED CASES OF CHOLERA IN BAROTSELAND?
By Namakando Nalikando-Sinyama This was one assertion of that a brother called fact after my earlier submission on ‘Malozi And Their General Hygiene Or The Lack Of It Thereof ’. Whether or not this...... can be collaborated by thorough Epidemic Research Survey findings collected over a protracted period of time is something we have to subject to scrutiny. I will from the outset state that I am no medical expert in any specialized field or neither did drop off from med school or anything of the sort but I will attempt to explain the above phenomenon as debatable as it maybe. Cholera is a diarrheal illness caused by the bacteria Vibrio cholerae. This species is not endemic to humans, and its presence in the human digestive system is not part of the natural life cycle of the bacteria. Normally found in estuary ecology, the Vibrio cholerae bacteria life cycle naturally shifts between various reservoir species such as small snails and crustaceans, free-floating planktonic forms and static forms resident in the silt and muck of the estuary.Vibrio cholera bacteria enter the human ecosystem through a variety of routes. The most common entry is through contaminated food or water.(SOURCE: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/189269.php) An acquaintance of mine once lambasted this growing trend among academicians of citing web sites in their former scholarly presentations as not being a commonly accepted practice. I am yet to have some good old intellectual intercourse with her for me to fully appreciate the angle she has taken on the matter. It is just unfortunate that I may never even have this chance though. Since I am not exactly writing for my Post-Doctoral thesis yet, nor am I a fledgling academic, allow me to indulge myself as above. It has been established that wet conditions are a necessary precursor for the spread of the disease causative agent or vector of cholera. The topography of Barotseland proper being generally low lying and set so many meters below sea level which mostly would have made it more prone to flooding . Surely this feature ought to have provided ideal conditions for the spread of Cholera, right? Wrong! What would have been technically more correct to state was that when we were still trying to be legally part of Zambia then courtesy of that Agreement, the Vice-President’s Disaster Management Team may never have constantly blackened our door steps that much because look, where we come from we celebrate floods and they are never viewed as disaster per se. Back to the vibro issue, let us address other conditions we see in Northern Rhodesia which has annually helped them get persistently plagued by this same disease yearly just like clockwork. It is almost an officially recognized and accepted occurrence, which is quite shocking if you asked me! The geology of Barotseland even in times when it receives heavy down pours of rain does not predispose it to conditions that can allow cholera to thrive. The Barotse/Kalahari sandy soils we have will always ensure that all the rain water that falls on it never collect in stagnant pools but percolate and seep through right down into the lower lying aquifers , water tables and under lying bed rock. This rain water even if it did fall, does eventually become part of the hydrology in the many sources of running fresh water in the rivers, streams and brooks spread all across the length and breadth of ancestral Barotseland. It is also a well-known demographic effect of population density that if poor sanitation exists disease will almost always be the inevitable end result. This is not usually true though as can be seen from other densely peopled metropolitan cities around the world. In Barotseland, the general description of our human numbers by head count per square kilometer through a stratified random sampling method is termed as sparsely populated. This amount of people is scarcely sufficient to generate the needed filth to provide an enabling environment for germs to breed. I have always held that the degree of urban conurbation is directly proportional to economic activity. This is what attracts people to be huddled up in a small area well exceeding its carrying capacity. The come to cities in that well known cliché of old ,rural urban drift. The only trouble is that the whole of Barotseland proper is mostly rural so there is no one drifting anywhere to search for which jobs in which industries created by whom? So our numbers are by and large mostly scattered in neat pockets of near predestined poverty. This reality we have to seek to redress and fast. This does remind me of a scientific paper I presented as a child at secondary school on the potential of unchecked population density causing mass deaths as espoused by The Right Reverend Thomas Robert Malthus in his dissertation on The Principle of Population. I experimented with bugs and gooey stuff on petri dishes people Yuck! The only problem is that, Barotseland Proper is mostly rural and has endured years of abject inhuman poverty through a sustained subtle form of economic neglect and I shudder to even think of what I had to go through growing up in rural Barotseland .To think that my kith and kin are still going through conditions of similar and even worse squalor just bites at the inner core of my consciousness. Mine eyes get glazed close to tears just recounting our day to day ordeals of life back home. These facts prove that there is hardly any chance of Malozi generating enough litter and waste or disposed of excess food material as most households sadly lack the financial spending power for them to buy the non-existent goodies that would eventually create garbage anyway. Let me put it more coarsely and crudely and for this, I apologies in advance. It is a well-accepted biological fact that you need to have eaten to defecate. Pardon me if you are fresh from enjoying a sumptuous meal, I did not exactly intend for you to get disgusted to the point of bringing the food back. I just needed to put things into their rightful context. Ladies and gentlemen there is poverty in Barotseland , we do not just parrot it, some of us have lived it and who feels it knows it,lord……singing! It is therefore my humble submission that to assume we have not had cholera in Barotseland because we are generally more hygienic than other people may be slightly flawed. The assertion above by the way, is one that, as I would say in Latin tongue Quod Est Demonstrandum (Q.E.D). We should take heart though for,” Amid pleasures and palaces though we may roam, be they ever so humble, there is no place like Home.” – John Howard Payne. There is a clarion call though silent, but when we meditate it ,we will hear it as loud a Jewish Shofar from our ancestors to genuinely look back home in a way we have never done before and answer the call. We urgently need to prepare for a Renaissance of enormous proportion, may God, Nyambe ni Nasilele richly Bless us ALL!