Rain – Friend or Foe?

The elixir of life- we rely on water for everything. Sacred across the world, water provides us with the necessary ingredients for survival. But, water can also bring great sorrow. Today, we attended a series of lectures at Egerton University in Nakuru, where we discussed the immense water and sanitation challenges this county faces.

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On our way back, heavy rainfall gave us a small taste of the issues that were presented. The rain, virtually without warning, fell hard and fast. As the water flooded the roads, it submerged any existing infrastructure that, even on a dry day, only barely contained the burgeoning traffic. During the five-hour drive back, a trip that should have taken two, we had time to observe the chaos that ensued in our surroundings, and reflect on the consequences. In addition to increased traffic and collisions, a lingering odor signaled an even bigger problem- improper management of sewage. Underdeveloped infrastructure and poor waste management leaves the county vulnerable to increased contamination of the water supply in certain areas. The health problems that arise from contaminated water, including cholera and other water-borne diseases, are a major health concern for the region. How can something so essential be so devastating? And what can be done about it?

By: Patrick Mugabe and Sevan Boudakian (MMASc in Global Health Systems in Africa Candidates) and Erika Freeman (Collaborative Program in Global Health Systems Candidate)

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