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Health SA Gesondheid

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Dealing with cholera: exclusively the domain of environmental health practitioners?: review

Cheryl S Le Roux

Abstract


Cholera outbreaks have a profound impact on the health and well-being of communities. Especially young children are vulnerable to the disease and schools report high absenteeism during epidemics. There is both the perception and evidence thereof, that educating communities about cholera (its prevention and treatment) is the responsibility of the Department of Health through its health care workers. In this article it is argued and justified that educators are in a favourable position to support such initiatives. In fact, according to the generic roles of the educator as indicated in the Norms and Standards for Educators, it is the responsibility of educators to actively take part in the development of the communities they serve in fulfilment of their pastoral role as outlined in the Norms and Standards document. Furthermore, provision is made in the Revised National Curriculum Statement for addressing environmental health issues in the Life Orientation learning area. This article further explores current health care initiatives to combat the incidence of cholera and examines the potential role of educators to support such initiatives. Reference is also made to a recent study in northern KwaZulu Natal where a survey of practising educators' level of knowledge regarding cholera was undertaken.

Key Words: Environmental health; Cholera; Educator roles; Health practitioners; Life orientation


Cholera het 'n diepgaande invloed op die gesondheid en algemene welsyn van gemeenskappe. Veral jong kinders is vatbaar vir die siekte, gevolglik rapporteer skole hoรซ syfers van afwesigheid gedurende epidemies. Daar bestaan die persepsie sowel as die bewyse daarvan dat voorligting van gemeenskappe in verband met cholera (voorkoming sowel as behandeling) die verantwoordelikheid van die Departement van Gesondheid se gesondheidsorgwerkers is. In hierdie artikel word daar aangevoer en gemotiveer dat opvoeders in 'n gunstige posisie verkeer om sulke inisiatiewe te ondersteun. Inderdaad, volgens die generiese rolle van die opvoeders soos uiteengesit in die Norme en Standaarde vir Opvoeders, is dit hulle verantwoordelikheid om aktief deel te neem in die ontwikkeling van die gemeenskappe waarin hulle werk, ter vervulling van hulle pastorale rol soos omskryf in bogenoemde dokument. Daarbenewens, maak die Hersiene Nasionale Kurrikulumverslag voorsiening vir die addressering van omgewingsgesondheidsake in die Lewensoriรซnterings leerarea. Hierdie artikel verken ook die huidige gesondheidsorginisiatiewe waardeur die trefwydte van cholera teengewerk kan word. Dit ondersoek voorts die potensiรซle rol van opvoeders om sulke inisiatiewe te ondersteun. Verwysing word ook gemaak na 'n onlangse studie in noordelike KwaZulu Natal waar 'n opname van die praktiserende opvoeders se vlak van kennis in verband met cholera onderneem is.

Health SA Gesondheid Vol.9(3) 2004: 55-65



http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hsag.v9i3.172
AJOL African Journals Online