__Make yourself useful! #CholeraAlert
A few months ago, there was an amazing incident in France: A three-year old child climbed out of an apartment on the third floor of a building, and was dangling there about to fall to his death. A young African (illegal) immigrant witnessed it, and in the flash of a moment he climbed all the way up to rescue the child. It was a stunning act of bravery, in which he risked all to save that child.
It made global news. He was invited to the Presidential Palace and granted immediate citizenship of France. The response of the President of France was the right response. This man had demonstrated that he was he was a “member” and “belonged” to the community.
The young immigrant could have simply said to himself: “Where is that child’s parent?” or “Who designed this building that allows a child to get out?”
Or he could have waited until he got home before venting on Twitter, to show he is smart. He might also have thought of his own situation… It could easily have resulted in his arrest and deportation!
The true “member” of a community, the one who “belongs,” does not think of him or herself in a time of crisis. They act. They offer to help.
Crises come in different forms, but our response should be the same: We must show concern, and make ourselves useful. The true strength of a community is measured by the response of its individual members acting together during a crisis.
Now many of you know that my country, Zimbabwe, is currently facing a #CholeraCrisis. Perhaps some of you are even wondering what you can do to help.
__If you live in Zimbabwe and able to volunteer, many organizations are providing assistance. At our Higher Life Foundation we have set up #ThisIsMyHome and @Thisismyhome5 to connect volunteers with communities in need. Please call 08080400 (a toll-free number) if you want to find out more about volunteering.
You are all aware that I am not a medical doctor, so please note, the following information I am going to share with you was drawn from the US Center for Disease Control (CDC) website. You must get the specific details here: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/diseases/cholera
Most important! Cholera is very treatable but you have to act fast to restore the fluids being lost. If you know someone who is sick, don’t waste time. Antibiotics and intravenous fluids may be urgently needed. Seek medical professionals and other experts for advice and treatment without delay!
__If you are in Zimbabwe and you suspect someone has #cholera, you can SMS the following information to 37788:
Disease # Surname # Address.
Healthcare officials will then get in touch to assist. This service is free and can help save a life!
__As always, it’s very important for you to do your own homework, but here are some guidelines to help prevent the spread of a #cholera epidemic:
1. Drink and use safe #CleanWater for everything you do, including brushing your teeth, washing and preparing food, making ice and cleaning your kitchen. If you don’t know if the water is safe, don’t risk it.
2. Use only water from sealed water bottles or clean it by boiling it or treating it, as advised by professionals on the ground. Always store #CleanWater in clean covered containers. If in doubt, don’t take a chance!
3. Wash your hands with #CleanWater before you eat or prepare food, feed your children, and after you go to the toilet, change your child’s nappies, or take care of someone ill with diarrhea. If there is no soap, scrub your hands often with ash or sand, and rinse with safe #CleanWater. Avoid shaking hands.
4. Use latrines or other sanitation systems like chemical toilets, if available. If not, go at least 30 meters away from any body of water and bury your waste. Seek guidance from experts what is the best sanitation plan for your own community under these dire circumstances.
6. Cook food thoroughly (especially sea food) and keep it covered. Eat it hot, and be sure to peel all fruits and vegetables. “Boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it!”
7. Carefully clean and disinfect kitchen and places where the family bathes and wash clothes. If you know people without running water, be sure they know to wash themselves, their children, diapers, and clothes, at least 30 meters away from drinking water sources.
Perhaps you and your own community or nation are also a facing a crisis…
# Every act of kindness and care matters.
Let us each do what we can to help, right where we are.
Strive Masiyiwa is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group. He serves on several international boards including Unilever, and the Global Advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University. A board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years, he also serves as Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He is a co-founder of the Carbon War Room, Pathways for Prosperity, and the Global Business Coalition on Education. He and his wife, Tsitsi, co-founded the Higherlife Foundation and are signators of the Giving Pledge.View all posts by Strive Masiyiwa