Vibrio cholerae is a nasty bacterium that can cause severe diarrhoea, vomiting, dehydration, and death. Its lethal potential is marked in children and mothers-to-be. The disease is eponymously called Cholera.
Cholera and poor hygiene go hand in hand, mostly caused by lack of a good supply of clean water.
Within the first month of operations our staff at the Gambade were confronted with two non-fatal cases of cholera, their timely action saw the patients rehydrated and transferred to the nearest government hospital.
On the other side of the world, Gutu Mission Hospital in Zimbabwe, is the centre for emergency obstetrics serving about 250,000 people and operating on a daily water capacity of 17,000 litres when the minimum WHO recommendation for a hospital of its size is 40,000 litres. Nurses and even prenatal clients carry water in buckets to fill storage tanks whenever the rationed power allows the pumps to supply the taps. Hospital infection control depends on a good supply of clean water among other practices.
We are keen to help Gutu Mission Hospital find all the water it needs, to store it, and distribute it efficiently.
On another note: Jesus uses water as a symbol of Himself most powerfully in the conversation with the Samaritan woman.
Christian charities including EMAS Canada have dug wells as a service to people in need and have not shied away, and rightly so, from drawing attention to the symbolism.
But Vibrio Cholerae is not a spirit, nor are the crocodiles that infest rivers where our women are at times forced to fetch water from.
Good clean water, and lots of it, is what we need for good hygiene, to treat dehydration, to control hospital infections, and for all life. The important first treatment of Cholera is to hydrate the victim, often with rapid infusion through a vein. Water is the number one cleansing agent for infection control and disease prevention everywhere.
In an allusion to the gospel, water is mentioned as the fruit of salvation to be relished with joy as God turns away His anger, comforting people who get to know and trust Him: something to be made known or accessible in all the earth. 1
Good water in good quantities is good news everywhere.
We believe Jesus Christ wants to make Himself available to all people for both physical and spiritual hygiene. Through the sustainable development goals 2030, the UN universally supports countries to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”.2.
EMAS Canada is working to meet water needs at healthcare facilities in Burkina Faso, Haiti, and Zimbabwe.
For more information:
Burkina Faso: Norma McDonald
Haiti: Wesley Romulus
Zimbabwe: Peter Agwa
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.3
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All Scripture references are taken from the New International Version (NIV)
1 Isaiah 12:1-6 and Zechariah 13:1
3 Revelations 22:17
Feature image: Cholera patient at Gambade Medical Clinic