They have pit-latrines but prefer bush - report

A girl washes her hands after using a pit-latrine in Amudat District last year. A health survey conducted by Gomba District Health Department has faulted a section of the population for failing to use the pit-latrines. PHOTO BY STEVEN ARIONG

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Efforts. The authorities are now on a campaign to see that such attitudes are changed

GOMBA. A health survey conducted by Gomba District Health Department has faulted a section of the population for failing to use pit-latrines.
About 38 per cent of the residents who own pit-latrines at their respective residences in Gomba District defecate in open space, a factor linked to historical myths where residents reportedly used the gardens and nearby bushes as convenient places for defecation, according to the district leaders.
“Our [pit] latrine coverage is still worrying with a shocking detail of residents who do not use them,” the Gomba District Council Speaker, Ms Olivia Nankunda Mpuuga, said at the celebrations to mark the Toilet Day for Gomba District at Kigezi Church of Uganda Primary School on Tuesday.

She said the revelation is a shame for a district struggling to boost the hygiene and sanitation conditions found wanting for many residents in the area.
“This shows a bad image to the good samaritans trying to improve our hygiene conditions, supply of clean water and disease prevention for our communities,” Ms Nankunda said.
For Maddu Sub-county, one of the pilot areas where the no open defecation free campaign has been ongoing, the pit-latrine coverage, which was at zero per cent at time of intervention in 2017, now stands at 79 per cent.

This was achieved through a baseline sanitation and hygiene surveys for 6,891 households where follow-up visits to 14,637 priority households were conducted.
“The campaign involved use of sign posts indicating other sanitation messaging which yielded results. We now have 36,537 people who have been impacted by this hygiene and sanitation campaign,” Mr Edward Morgan, the executive director of Water Compass, a health based non-governmental organisation, which partners with the Ministry of Water and Environment and Gomba District Local Government for the open defecation free environment campaign for Maddu Sub-county, said.
Lack of pit-latrines is still a big challenge affecting the education sector.
“Several schools in Mpenja Sub-county do not have pit-latrines. This poses a big health risk to both the pupils and teachers,” Ms Ruth Sabiiti Kashaka, the Resident District Commissioner, said.
“We shall not hesitate to close schools which do not have the pit-latrines. The children and teachers should not stay in such environment,” Ms Kashaka added.