KAMPALA City Council (KCC) has banned roadside food vending in the city as a way of curbing the fast-spreading cholera epidemic that has already infected 305 people with three fatalities.
It is the role of the city as well as local authorities to ensure proper hygiene of their residents. However, KCCâ€™s move has always been more reactive than proactive. Despite KCC having a fully-fledged health department, the city has always experienced cholera outbreaks during the rainy season.
It was announced well before the onset of the current rains that East Africa would experience an El-nino condition till February 2007. If those in City Hall were effective planners, they should have put in place measures to mitigate any cholera outbreak well in advance. KCC as well as the Ministry of Health should put in place strategies for a lasting solution to epidemics such as cholera and meningitis, which is common in the dry season.
We do not need 300 people to be down first in order to act. It was not necessary for three people to die in order for KCC to ban a bad practice like roadside vending. With thousands of families who have been deriving their livelihoods from food vending now sent off the streets by a single pronouncement, what alternative places dies KCC have for them? How about the poor who have been surviving on these cheap roadside foods?
Did KCC consider these social aspects of the ban before the decision? The KCC health department has a role to continuously sensitise the vulnerable population on good hygiene and health practices. KCC should also enforce building regulations to ensure proper waste disposal. It is a common practice in the city suburbs for toilet waste to be emptied into storm drainages! KCC should avoid waiting for people to die or three vehicles to overturn before fixing a pothole. Effective managers are proactive and not reactive.
KCC shoud be proactive