Cholera deaths a shame

Thursday December 3 2009

It is a real shame that in this age of the fibre-optic cable and advances in locally-developed mobile phone applications that have been hailed the world over, Kenyans should be dying of cholera.

One would think that diseases that spread because of unsanitary conditions belonged to a bygone period.

But it probably is a oddity in Kenya and many other developing countries that amazing advances in technology have to exist side-by-side with disease, poverty, hunger, illiteracy and other scourges of the Third World.

The current cholera epidemic that has claimed an unacceptable number of fatalities in just a few weeks should serve as a wake-up all.

Even as we mingle with the developed world in cyberspace, we must deal with the inequalities that have a section of society living in what is essentially a First World economic, social and technological sphere; and the vast majority in a state of deprivation.

Any society with such deep gaps between the have and have-nots is unhealthy and unsustainable. The wide gulf is what breeds runaway crime and insecurity, and ultimately arrests progress and development.

It is therefore urgent that our economic and social planners focus, not just on development for a small elite, but on policies that pull the masses out of poverty and backwardness, and propel them to a brave new world.