County Assembly to Formulate Bill that will Help Curb Open Defecation

The Narok County Assembly will formulate a health bill that will have individuals defecating in open places arrested and fined.

Speaking during the World Toilet Day celebrations, Narok Director of Public Health, Daniel Sironka said the bill will have the culprits fined a minimum of Sh. 10, 000.

This could be the best way to increase toilet coverage that has remained below average in our county, he said.

He however,

said the toilet coverage has slightly improved from 38 per cent in the year 2015 to 50 percent this year according to statistics from the department of public health.

This means approximately half of the total population still defecate in the open, a situation that exposes the residents to water borne diseases.

He said the improvement in toilet coverage was triggered by the aggressive campaigns held by his department in collaboration with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO).

We have worked with Amref health Africa, We world, Caritas Ngong and Christian Health Partners to sensitize residents on the importance of toilets, he said.

During the celebrations that were held at Nkoisuash Primary School in Ewaso Nyiro area of Narok South Sub County, Sironka said 74 villages in the county are already certified open defecation free according to the World Health Organization (WHO) standards.

The Department of Health came up with Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) Campaign to increase the latrine coverage where 1,356 villages were involved. 74 villages have so far been certified open defecation free, he said.

The celebration’s theme was ‘Waste Water’ hence focuses on how water should be treated and recycled.

Sironka added construction of a toilet using locally available materials can stop contamination of food and water.

You do not have to use expensive materials like bricks and iron sheet to construct a toilet, one can use the locally available materials like paper bags and timber, he said.

The officer asked large-scale farmers and pastoralists who migrate their livestock from one place to another to use pangas to dig shallow holes in which to defecate then cover them.

The County Governor’s wife, Sarah Tunai commended the Public Health Department for the increase in toilet coverage, saying she is optimistic that by the year 2020, the coverage will be over 80 percent.

She said about 2.5 billion people in the world do not use toilets, a situation that exposes them to water borne diseases.

The South Rift region Director of Africa Medical Research Foundation (AMREF), Daniel Kurao challenged chiefs to be at the forefront of educating residents on the importance of using toilets.

He added an increase in latrine coverage in the county could help in reducing cases of trachoma that stood at 20.5 per cent last year, as doctors related the disease to lack of toilets.

Eye-care at Narok Referral hospital and the secretary to the county Taskforce on trachoma attributed the increase of the disease to poor sanitation and lack of toilets in the most affected areas.

The flies feed on faeces and thus open defecation that is common in the manyattas attracts the flies which then spread the disease.

The most affected areas are Osupuko, Loita, Mara and parts of Ololulunga, adding that the disease is common with the pastoralists because of their nature of sharing shelter with calves and lambs.

According to WHO reports in 2014, diarrheal diseases whose main cause was water and poor sanitation contributed to 7, 735 deaths in Kenya.

An economic study carried out in Kenya by World Bank in 2012 showed that poor sanitation and hygiene cost the economy over Shs. 27 billion per year which is equivalent to 0.9 percent of annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The report continues open defecation costs Kenya sh. 8 Billion per year yet eliminating the practice would require less than 1.2 million latrines to be built and used.

It is estimated that 3 out of 10 people access improved sanitation in the urban and rural areas. Approximately 2.4 billion people are living without a toilet in the world.

Source: Kenya News Agency