Cholera is not a medical problem, but a medical reflection of a failing social system. This explains the current outbreak bedeviling our communities.
So far, the focus has been on medical intervention. It's fine in the short-term, but a total disaster in the long-term. Rehydration is only part of the solution.
As long as social causes are not dealt with, everything else is a waste of time. It's a vicious circle. Patients are treated, then sent back into their communities, and are reinfected. This is common in a country with a failing public healthcare system such as Zimbabwe.
South Africa's response has also been very disappointing. Nothing has been done to correct water contamination. A simple problem has been compounded by poor leadership in local government.
It was obvious that after Zimbabwe, South Africa would follow. Why did we not anticipate this crisis? There was delayed reaction in Mpumalanga. Didn't they learn anything from the dysentery outbreak in Delmas in 2005?
Political spin doctoring is not the answer to a medical crisis. The answer is to take people into your confidence, accept your limitations and ask for help.
Education is the best tool for prevention. When leaders fail, people die.
Dr Lucas Ntyintyane, Cresta