When I was pregnant, I loved boiled maize from a particular kibanda in Ngara. The maize had a calming effect that made both mama and baby very happy. I ensured I pass by the kibanda every evening for two boiled maize; one for me and another one for anyone who might want to join the party.
I also had a huge craving for matumbo fry from a kibanda on Kirinyaga road. Karis knew how I wanted my matumbo and for sure he never disappointed. Karis, however, committed suicide on our friendship when I went to the kibanda one lunch time only to find matumbo was over and he only had one portion for a client who had booked earlier for the very first time, he forgot to keep my portion of matumbo and to make the matters worse, he refused to sell for me the one he had ‘hid’ for the other customer despite threatening to drop an ocean of tears. I was so mad that I left the kibanda never to return you don’t come between a pregnant woman and her craving abi!!!
Cravings in pregnancy is very common and sometime weird. I know of my pregnant friends who craved soil, others chips mwitu, boiled eggs or even smokies with kachumbari sold on the roadside, directly opposite an open sewer. To them, hygiene is secondary as long as the craving was massaged.
This informs my post today: with the wave of cholera in the country how can a pregnant woman indulge and still keep cholera at bay?
Since the beginning of 2017, we have been experiencing an upsurge of cholera cases in the country. It started in Tana River County; it then traveled to Garissa County and was later reported in nine other counties including Nairobi, Murang’a Vihiga, Mombasa, Turkana, Kericho, Nakuru, Kiambu, and Narok. And cholera has now hit the lakeside city of Kisumu, according to the Ministry of Health.
Although Cholera has been traditionally associated with the ‘general population’, we have recently seen that even the high and mighty including cabinet secretaries have also been affected. According to the World Health Organization(WHO), 1,216 cases, including 14 deaths, have been reported as of 17 July 2017.
This is a clear indication that cholera is a serious infection and it is even worse to a pregnant woman because of her immune system. Cholera infections during pregnancy are associated with high rates of fetal death, especially when the woman is severely dehydrated.
Cholera is primarily associated with contaminated water and food, and is transmitted from person to person via the fecal-oral route – an infected person who does not practice proper hand or body hygiene passes the infection to another person when handling food and water.
Therefore, the best protection is to avoid potentially contaminated food and water. Not responding to your craving of that mutura sold next to that garbage pit will definitely not kill you but my dear mama, when you are infected with cholera, the infection can lead to severe dehydration and death. If you crave boiled eggs for example, why don’t you buy it raw and boil it yourself? If you crave chips, just buy the potatoes and have it prepared hygienically at home. You can leave clear instructions for it to be prepared before you arrive if the smell of hot oil is a turn off to you.
Simply put, the best prevention means going back to the basics i.e.
- Drink disinfected water and eat well-cooked foods only
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water. If not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
- Practice good body hygiene.
Today’s affirmation: I will Boil it, Cook it, Peel it, or Forget it!