YOUNG REPORTER – We the young reporters of Mbandaka – Osé, Ruth, Reddy, and Ruth – would like to speak to you about the issue of cholera at Mbandaka. This disease has become rampant in the city of Mbandaka, province of the Equator, for 5 months now and threatens the survival of the children that we are.
Article 6 of the Child’s rights Convention states: “Every child has an inherent right to life” and adds that the State has an obligation to ensure the survival and development of every child”. Cholera is a disease which threatens the life of children, and it is therefore important to protect them from this epidemic. We left for an on-site reporting to conduct a survey.
What is the state of cholera in Mbandaka?
The cholera epidemic, which is attacking a part of the DRC, has hit the city of Mbandaka since 27 April 2016. We went to the Cholera Treatment Center (CTC), where we met the chief doctor of this latter.
The doctor witnessed to us: “We received 681 sick people, out of which was only one death at the center“. The CTC is in charge of 3 health zones of the city of Mbandaka and their environs. Dr. Eoma explained to us that cholera is a disease characterized by very frequent vomiting and watery diarrheas of the color of rice water.
At the CTC, Dr. Eoma has a team in charge of carrying and transporting sick people to the center to receive treatment, which is always free. But there is a food care problem: the hospital no more has enough rations for all the patients.
Meet a child recovered from cholera at Mbandaka I
After our visit to the CTC, we continued our survey in the community of Bakusu in Mbandaka I. There, we met a little girl recovered from cholera after her treatment at the CTC.
When his parents observed the symptoms of cholera on Bébé Iluku, who is 10 years old, they sent her to the health center closest to them. The doctor transferred her to the Cholera Treatment Center, since treatment at this latter is free.
When they got to the CTC, Bébé and her mum were welcomed by a doctor who instantly put her on a drip, since the child was already very dehydrated. “Over there at the Center, we do not eat meals coming from outside” said the young and shy Bébé.
During the 4 days when she was there, Bébé, just like the other patients, ate three times a day: porridge in the morning, noon and evening according to their choice. Her mother, Mboyo Mpakama, 33 years, explained to us: “For all the time we spent at the CTC, I did not pay any fee for the treatment and feeding of my child“. Bébé and her mum were really happy, since normally she does not eat three times a day.
And actually, we were all struck, as Bébé, despite her 10 years, looked like she was 5 or 6: it’s the sign of a high growth retardation caused by malnutrition.
Bébé, after recovering from cholera, had the greatest pleasure to return to her family which she had missed for a while. She is also happy to go back to her school activities which will begin next week.
Now, Bébé applies very well the rules of hygiene, and explains to us: “wash your hands before eating, after visiting the toilet and don’t eat uncovered foods”. Bébé does not cease to educate his friends into observing the rules of hygiene and plans to do the same thing at school, in order to protect himself against cholera.
How will you deal with cholera?
To us the young reporters of Mbandaka, this survey has shown that cholera was always rampant here. To prevent this disease, you absolutely have to comply with the rules of hygiene, and we remind you: wash your hands with soap or ashes before eating, after visiting the toilet, before breastfeeding a baby or changing diapers; avoid eating cold foods, unwashed fruits, only drink clean water; maintain our environment to make it clean, free from dirt.
Finally, we wish to advocate, especially for the State partners in the fight against cholera. The CTC lacks food, that which can slow down the patient’s recovery and threaten the survival of children.
Let us all rise up, children of Mbandaka and the DRC, to fight against the cholera disease which is easily transmitted by lack of hygiene in schools.
Health is priceless: without health, children cannot study, so cannot plan the future.
The young reporters of Mbandaka prepared this report within the scope of a blog writing workshop organized by UNICEF. Follow Po na bana for their next articles!
UNICEF DRC supports its partner ADRA by providing all medical inputs of the Mbandaka Center for Cholera Treatment and by supporting its coordination
Translated from French by Doris Dokua Sasu
Photos : UNICEF DRC Mounet 2016
Enfants reporters Mbandaka
Suite à leur initiation à l'écriture de blogs, les enfants reporters de Mbandaka vous proposent leurs premiers articles.
After a blog writing workshop, the young reporters of Mbandaka are pleased to share their first papers.
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