The Ministry of Health and Medical Services says that it is preparing for a possible spike in waterborne diseases, this after week of heavy rain and flooding in Honiara and parts of the Solomon Islands.
The Ministry says that the absence of clean water in most of these communities means many will be forced to depend on water sources that will most likely be contaminated.
“The community does not have clean drinking water, few have tanks but not many, so most in the area depend on the stream for drinking, cooking and bathing,” said Hilda, a market vendor at the burns creek area.
The Ministry says that water related diseases includes illnesses resulting from both direct and indirect contact with contaminated water, whether by consumption or by skin exposure during bathing or recreational use.
Contaminated water can cause many types of diarrheal diseases, including Cholera, and other serious illnesses such as Typhoid, and Dysentery. Water related diseases cause 3.4 million deaths worldwide each year.
The Ministry also fears that with many homes inundated with flood water and mud, virus-carrying mosquitos may put the local population at risk.
“Dengue is always a risk, so we are coordinating efforts with clinics and hospitals to prepare, particularly for serious cases,” a senior health officer stated. “Early clinical diagnosis is essential to minimize risk.”
The National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) says that relief is still a long way off for areas hit by the heavy rain. According to the Meteorological Services the wet weather may persist for the remainder of the week.