Public Health Department embarks on Sanitation campaign

Narok County loses over Sh. 886 million each year to sanitations related diseases which could have easily been avoided if proper sanitation or hygiene was observed in the county.

Speaking during a sanitation stakeholders meeting held at a Narok hotel Tuesday, county Public Health Officer Mr. Daniel Sironka said the amount involves the cost of treating infections which include diarrhea, dysentery,and typhoid.

Sironka, who is also the county disease surveillance coordinator, advised the residents to observe hygiene in order to avoid sanitation related diseases.

He said the county requires Sh. 36million each year to handle sanitation issues.

He said the department of public health in Narok County has embarked on a major sanitation campaign dubbed Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) in order to improve sanitation and reduce sanitation related diseases in the county.

He said the campaign is aimed at creating awareness on use of toilets and other sanitary facilities in the area in order to reduce pollution of water sources and eradicate sanitation related diseases such as Trachoma, diarrhea and polio.

Mr. Sironka observed that toilet use in the county was at only 42 per cent, which was concentrated around Narok town.

This means about 60 per cent or more than half of the population in the county still use bushes or flying toilets, which eventuality pollute the water sources, he said.

Mr. Sironka said the situation was worse in public primary schools where over 233,000 pupils in all public primary schools have less than a half of the sanitation facilities they requi

The county has about 1,500 sanitation facilities serving over 112,000 boys against a requirement of over 3,000 in order to avert outbreak of sanitation related diseases. The situation is far worse for the over 121,000 girls in the schools who have only 1,300 facilities against a requirement of 4, 800, he observed.

Mr. Sironka said they target to involve 1,592 villages in the county, which have already been mapped out in sanitation issues in a bid to sensitize the communities on the importance of use of toilets.

He said his office was working with various stakeholders such as World Vision to realize this goal.

The programme has already declared 56 villages open defecation free.

He said 99 per cent of people in Narok County defecated in the open due to lack of information and they intend to ensure that the county is free from open defecation by August 2018.

Mr. Sironka noted sanitation related diseases such as Trachoma, cholera, and diarrhea were among the top ten diseases in the county and could only be eradicated if proper sanitation is observed.

Narok County has been ranked second in the country after Turkana, where residents have been affected by Trachoma, a disease that is caused by a fly known as Musea Sorbens which mainly spreads the infection from faeces.

Mr. Sironka however cited challenges to the implementation of the programme, which range from culture, ignorance and funding, among others.

Older men are culturally not allowed to share toilet facilities with their young daughters. This therefore calls for more than one toilet facility in a home, said the officer.

He said the programme is collaborating with stakeholders to construct sanitary facilities around boreholes and watering points in a sensitization move.

He called on the County Government to facilitate his department which is now devolved to meet the sanitation needs of the residents in order to avert disease outbreaks.

Source: Kenya News Agency