Children’s health threatened by the cholera epidemic in Goma

Epidemic cholera Goma_A lack of drinking water at the homes, polpulation of Goma come to draw on Lake Kivu

Drawing water from Lake

YOUNG REPORTER Goma, one of the most beautiful cities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is situated at the edge of Lake Kivu. Nevertheless, the lack of water remains a problem for this city where the cholera epidemic is a reality.

Three pumps for more than a million inhabitants

Three pumps of the Public Water Company are operational for a city of more than a million inhabitants. The city of Goma is divided into two big communes: the commune of Goma and that of Karisimbi.

Only one part of the Goma commune benefits from a regular supply of drinkable water. The other part of the city draws water directly from Lake Kivu or from water fountains very early in the morning or late in the evening.

From consuming non-chlorinated water to cholera

Non-chlorinated water drawn directly from the lake provokes devastating effects in the city: the cholera epidemic. Cholera is a disease that is favoured by precarious hygiene conditions.

Many children suffer from this disease during the dry season. Aksanti, a child from the Himbi district, explains to us, “In my district, there is no water. We go to the lake to draw water that is not chlorinated.”

Cholera: an avoidable epidemic

Cholera is a very contagious and dangerous disease if it is not treated in time and as necessary. Too often we find ourselves in the face of this disease because of lack of information. It would be suitable to run large awareness campaigns to inform the Congolese people about cholera prevention techniques in order to guarantee children their survival and quality development. This awareness campaign must occur in schools, churches, and the media…

It is necessary to spread good practices in order to prevent cholera: for example, boiling water before drinking it, and cleaning food before consumption. The other important practice is to wash one’s hands with soap or ash at five key moments: when finished with toilets, before eating, before breastfeeding or feeding a child, before preparing food, and after changing babies’ diapers.

The highest attainable standard of health for each child

My plea is addressed to decision-makers in my country to allocate more funds to water supply across the city of Goma and take care of children already affected by this disease.

Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child provides that “States Parties recognize the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health. States Parties shall strive to ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right of access to such health care services.”

I also ask parents and all concerned parts of the community to follow hygienic measures, and to boil or purify water before drinking it. With this, we can create a dignified world for children together.

More info about cholera in Goma :

Translated by Darren Ou Yong

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Armand a 16 ans. Il étudie les sciences à Goma au Nord-Kivu et veut devenir pédiatre. C'est pour plaider en faveur des enfants qu'il est devenu parlementaire du parlement d'enfants de Goma et enfant reporter en 2014. Son but est de vivre dans un Congo où les droits de l'enfant sont bien respectés.

Armand is 16 years old. He studies sciences in Goma, North-Kivu and wants to be a paediatrician. In order to defend the cause of children, he took part in the children's parliament of Goma and became young reporter in 2014. His dream is to live in a Congo where children's rights are fully respected.

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