Are Flies Really a Problem?

Today, we found ourselves asking a lot of questions. What is healthy food? Are flies really a problem? In reality, not all species of flies are carriers of harmful bacteria. Unlike sewer flies, houseflies are not that concerning in relation to human health. Today we also learnt that flies might actually help to indicate healthy food. If flies had a choice between a big mac and fresh fish, we think they would choose the fish. This highlights the problem of defining what healthy food is. These perspectives are in contrast to what we previously thought. If you’re cooking your fish, flies may not be a big deal.


However, flies on your fruit may be a bigger problem. You can wash fruit, but is the water used to wash it clean? It seems that locals may not have proper access to clean fresh water. Today we saw several men pulling large trollies with open jugs of water. Is this water getting to all the locals? Is it affordable? Is it even clean? From our perspective, the root problem of many of these issues is water. As we’ve heard many times in the past couple days, “Water is Life”. This small example is somehow very representative of a global health system. Water is connected to food, which is connected to flies, which is all connected to human health. Although we have only spent one day in Mombasa so far, we can see that we have a lot more to learn about global health systems, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

By: Olivia Petersons (MMASc in Global Health Systems in Africa Candidate) and Aleksey Paltsev (PhD and Collaborative Program in Global Health Systems in Africa Candidate)

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