'The great mass of people…. don’t know that the miasma of an impure alley is productive of cholera and disease. If they did know these things, people would take care that they inhabited better houses.’English Liberal Economist, Richard Cobden 1853
I included the quote above in the second lecture on Cholera. Hopefully you all appreciate how condescending the sentiment is and I don't think many of us would say such a thing today about poor people in our own country.
However when we talk about other countries I think there is a greater tendency to make this mistake - if only people knew to boil their water and get their sick people to hospitals then the problem would be solved.
The Guardian, a British newspaper, have a short video clip on their website about the Zimbabwe cholera epidemic in 2008/2009. It is well worth watching. Notice how all these people know exactly how cholera is contracted but can do nothing about it, and know what a cholera patient needs, but don't have the funds to provide it.