The Sanitation week will be commemorated nationally on Friday March 17th 2017 in Nyimbwa sub-county, Luwero Sub-county. The guest of honor is Hon Dr Moriku Joyce, the minister of State for primary health care. The theme is "Good Sanitation, how is your leader?" A number of activities have been planned for the week long commemoration including;
The days programme starts at 8:30am and ends at 2:00 pm with lunch.
By Robert Fraser, IFRC
Despite the vast scale of the refugee camp, night in Palorinya, Northern Uganda can be eerily quiet. “We arrived here late at night,” Roy McGroarty, operations manager for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), said. “We found that the most recent arrivals – possibly as many as 30,000 people – had no materials for shelter and were trying to sleep in the open.”
By morning, the scale of the needs in the camp became apparent to McGroarty. “As far as the eye could see in every direction, small groups of families were trying to cope. It had rained the previous night and there was little protection for these families, and few sanitation facilities,” he said. “People were waiting for even basic services.”
In the last six months there has been a steady increase in people fleeing violence in South Sudan and looking for safety in Palorinya. Resources, and the capacity of the government and humanitarian agencies, are stretched.
A government official organizing arrivals in the reception centre said there were many challenges, but water was one of the biggest. At present more than half of the safe water at the camp is provided by teams from the Uganda Red Cross Society. Water is taken from several sites along the Nile, treated and transported long distances to the camp.
Grace Kyagaba, the society’s water and sanitation (WASH) coordinator, said maintaining this level of support was a major operation. “We have teams of staff and volunteers working up to 15 hours a day to meet demand. We will need to expand that capacity even more and we’re looking forward to the WASH emergency response unit about to arrive to boost our efforts bringing more equipment, vehicles and technicians from Red Cross societies in Sweden, Germany and Austria,” she said. “Our equipment is nearing the end of its life, though. Water pumps especially have been overworked beyond their capacity and it is a struggle to keep them going, if one breaks down, our production is reduced until we get it up and running again.”
Robert Kwesiga, Secretary General of the Uganda Red Cross Society, said that, although they were having a significant impact on water and sanitation needs in the camp, there was a real chance that a major disease outbreak would occur. “We have serious concerns over the health of the refugees, especially related to sanitation and hygiene promotion,” he said. “It is only a question of time before major health threats turn into reality, so we need to redouble our efforts to prevent this and be prepared to react quickly. What we fear most is that even more refugees are expected to arrive.”
In addition to water and sanitation services, the Red Cross is also supporting efforts to reunite families – especially unaccompanied children – and to provide other health services.
The National Learning forum took place on December 14, 2016 at City Royal Hotel in Kampala, under the theme, "WASH Based Climate Adaptation Strategies in Uganda." Over 30 participants were drawn from 20 institutions to deliberate on the implementation of WASH based climate adaption strategies in national policies and development agenda. Discussions were geared towards building consensus among climate change actors, that WASH was indeed central to climate change adaptation and resilience. Key issues in the National Climate Change Policy and the Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (NCCAS) documents were raised for discussion. Implementing institutions and government were also engaged on decentralization of WASH based climate adaptation strategies, and how these can be mainstreamed in national adaptation programme of action. Water Aid Uganda, Rain foundation, the Ministry of Water and Environment and partners led the discussion. Presentation and summary outcomes are attached below.
October 15, is Global handwashing day. It is an annual campaign event dedicated to promoting healthy lifestyles through washing hands with soap and clean water. This directly echoes the health situation of any country such as Uganda, where the under-five mortality rate remains high, with one out of five babies not living beyond their first month due to infections linked to dirty water and unhygienic equipment and conditions at the place of birth.It is therefore important for this year’s Global Handwashing Day, to draw our attention to what improving water, sanitation and hygiene in healthcare facilities would mean to Uganda where many hospitals and clinics lack even rudimentary access to water. Read more
It is dirty. Everyone fears to associate with it even when they have just excreted it because it smells. But little do they know that human waste is a source of wealth.
For five months now at Otangula Village, Ilera parish in Kole District, human waste also known as faecal sludge is a business venture to more than 50 youth while promoting sanitation and hygiene in their district.
Mr Jasper Obong, 30, says people have been using deep pit-latrines for on-site sanitation which is costly in terms of construction when the old ones get full.
“At our homes, we have been digging deep pits and these are expensive and pollute the water table. These deep pits cannot be emptied easily once they are full which requires construction of new one. But this has an impact on land usage but because of the cost, many households end up failing to construct a pit latrine,” says Mr Obong.
He explains that with the introduction of a decentralised faecal plant, they are now encouraging households to dig shallow pits to ease emptying and subsequently drying it and turn the faecal sludge into briquettes for fuel and fertilisers.
“We have embarked on sensitising people on the benefits of digging shallow pits because they are cheap to manage. You only need between Shs50,000 and Shs100,000 to empty the pit using a gulper compared close to Shs1 million required to dig and construct a new one,” narrates Mr Obong, a sales manager and member of a Lango-based community based organisation; Youth without Borders.
He says the fees include transportation from site to the faecal plant where sludge is separated from water and dried before being mixed with carbonated material to make charcoal briquettes. The water is then used for irrigating demonstration garden for farmers. He says a kilogramme of charcoal briquettes costs between Shs700 and Shs800.
“With the use of charcoal briquettes, a household saves upto 40 per cent of the fuel required. This reduces pressure on natural resources like vegetation in a home,” says Mr Obong.
Water for People with partners including Kole District authority, commissioned a faecal sludge treatment to improve sanitation and create business opportunities for the youth in the district.
The 10 cubic metre capacity facility comprises of sludge drying bed, a manual gulper that empties unlined pits, a tricycle and tanks for transporting the sludge.
Mr Osbert Atwijukye, a Sanihub Coordinator with Water for People- Uganda, says the initiative comes at a time when improved sanitation remains a challenge in the country where more than 90 per cent of the population uses on-site sanitation and most towns are completely non-sewered.
“Unfortunately, most of the latrines are not lined while others are dug very deep without giving due consideration to the water table. The major reason for use of substandard latrines is lack of access to affordable and reliable emptying and treatment facilities,” says Mr Atwijukye.
He says the district was selected to benefit from the project due to lack of a faecal sludge treatment plant, only relying on a few waste water stabilisation ponds in neighbouring Lira District.
Mr Atwijukye says the plant contributes to modern and drainable latrine facilities and reduces the costs for making new pit-latrines especially in schools.
“We expect the plant to improve pit emptying in the area, reduce illegal dumping of sludge and result in the preservation of water resources which are currently deteriorating because of poor management of sludge,” says Mr Atwijukye.
The decentralised faecal sludge treatment plant has also trained entrepreneurs in briquette making.
He says the appropriate business models will be applied to ensure sustainability of the business to reduce pressure on the natural resources.
“Sludge smells due to poor management when it is fresh or decomposing. But when it is dry, it does not once it is properly managed,” says Mr Atwijukye.
He says the Ministry has established a fully-fledged sanitation and sewerage Department to address the issues of urban sanitation.
Mr Steven Sugden, the sanitation global manager for Water for People, explains that turning waste into an income-generating activity is expected to improve the cost of living among the local people.
Girls spend an average 200 hours each year collecting water, according to UNICEF. This doesn't mean going to the sink and filling up a cup. It refers to the girls around the world who live in communities without access to clean water, who, as a result, have to trudge every day to fetch water from available sources from their families. The news comes in light of World Water Week, taking place in Stockholm Aug. 29 to Sept. 2.
This means that girls and women around the world spend even more time than previously thought collecting water — nearly 50 million collective hours more. That’s 50 million hours that girls could instead use to learn, play sports, pursue careers, and get out of poverty.
“It would be as if a woman started with her empty bucket in the Stone Age and didn’t arrive home with water until 2016. Think how much the world has advanced in that time. Think how much women could have achieved in that time,” said UNICEF’s Chief of Section of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Sanjay Wijesekera.
The burden of lack of access to clean water falls on the shoulders of girls and women, and has been holding back girls for too long. That’s why this year’s World Water Week theme — Water for Sustainable Growth — focuses on clean water as a sustainable development tool, one that has the power to advance women’s rights, health, and keep the benefits flowing for all.
The biggest goal going forward is getting access to clean water within a 30 minute round-trip for everyone, according to UNICEF. Closer access to clean water cans even the playing field, making it less likely to interfere with a girl's education.
When it takes more than 30 minutes to collect water, this task more often falls to girls. A study from 24 sub-Saharan countries found that when the collection time exceeded 30 minutes, an estimated 3.36 million children and 13.54 million adult females were responsible for water collection. In Malawi, for example, men spent just 6 minutes getting water, while women spent nearly an hour (54 minutes.)
"Women and children should not have to spend so much of their time for this basic human right,” said Wijesekera.
Cholera has broken out in Bidibidi refugee settlement camp in Yumbe District, infecting 53 people. The district health officer, Dr Alfred Yayi, said at a meeting with United Nations Development Programme officials on Tuesday that sanitation at the camp is poor.
“Pit-latrines are available but the culture and taboos of the refugees of not sharing pit-latrines with their in-laws are making some of them to practice open defecation. We have managed to handle the cases with the partners with no cases of deaths registered so far,” Dr Yayi said. He added that 50 refugees and three Ugandan nationals are receiving treatment at a health centre in the settlement camp.
With the continuous influx of refugees, the district councillors are demanding for the construction of more health centres and upgrade of the existing classrooms.
Mr Saidi Aniku, the district vice chairperson, said: “The available health centres in the district are not enough to support the indigenous people let alone the refugees.”
He called for the recruitment of more health workers, and stocking of health centres with drugs.
Mr Aniku said there is need to raise more awareness on sanitation in refugee camps to prevent outbreak of diseases such as cholera.
The disease Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal infection caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.
The short incubation period of two hours to five days, is a factor that triggers the potentially explosive pattern of outbreaks.
Cholera can kill within hours. A person infected with cholera develops acute watery diarrhoea with severe dehydration. This can lead to death if left untreated.
For all Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) endeavors that have been achieved, can we now state with certainty that everybody is putting all the knowledge they have acquired to practice?
Have we delivered the much desired objective to say schools (not forgetting communities outside school) now experience better learning owing to improved WASH practices? From what we read and see going on, especially around the countryside, many schools still have a lot to do. We know too well that communities require water flowing constantly, with proper sanitation facilities.
To achieve this, they ought to immediately transform the knowledge they have into practice. Yes, WASH messages have been preached. But we cannot equally match that with current practices.
WASH habits do not seem to be giving us the joy we crave for. Not with the cholera and dysentery outbreaks. So where do we start?
Any new facility must be accompanied by user know-how, regardless of how simple it is. It means there must be on-going training, so users can learn and demonstrate this learning practically. This will make them remember the vital moments, when hands should be washed.
We want to see that change. So that when the bell rings for break or lunch, the first thing triggered on students’ minds is to immediately wash hands before eating anything.
Schools without WASH facilities have to provide them. Because many lack these facilities, children (and older people) often utilize open land to dispose waste and run the risk catching diseases.
With facilities provided and constant training, there will be clean latrines and children will access better quality water, hence less likelihood of falling sick.
By Simon J Mone,
When Education minister Jessica Alupo was still young, she was supported by her parents, teachers and community members to understand menstruation issues.
Writing in the reader for learners on Understanding and Managing Menstruation, the minister says, “We had books in our school like readers which I used to better understand what menstruation is, why and how it happens”.
“I’m happy to tell you that I never missed school [because of menstruation], [I] participated in all school activities and was able to complete my education. I am now the minister for education and I know you can also make it.”
To drive her message further, Alupo has asked men to support girls during their monthly menstruation period as schools celebrated the Menstrual Hygiene (MH) day last Friday.Under the theme Menstruation matters to everyone everywhere: Father figures it’s your turn, several schools converged at Mackay Memorial College in Nateete, where girls, female teachers and parents shared their experiences of menstruation.
Every May 28, the world celebrates the Menstrual Hygiene day but it was celebrated earlier this time in Uganda. Rosette Nanyanzi, the education ministry’s research officer in the Gender Unit, said they chose May 6 so school children can participate in the event before they break off for first-term holidays. Nanyanzi said the theme was intended to draw attention to the need for men to play a role in menstrual management issues.
“Many men shy away from the subject of menstruation because it is perceived to be a woman’s issue. At school, boys and male teachers often find it difficult to support girls in menstruation. Even religious leaders and other opinion leaders shy away from the subject, leaving it to the mothers and aunties,” Nanyanzi said.
A 2012 study conducted by The Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) and IRC International Water and Sanitation Centre estimated that close to four million Ugandan girls live without proper sanitary care. As a result, girls miss up to eight days of study per term, while others drop out entirely due to lack of menstrual hygiene. According to Nanyanzi, father figures can support girls and women to manage menstruation through keeping them in school and providing the necessary items during this period.
In a circular to schools, the ministry’s director of Basic and Secondary Education, Dr Yusuf Nsubuga, last year tasked schools to provide emergency changing uniforms, wrappers, pairs of knickers, sanitary towels and painkillers for girls, when needed during menstruation.
“All boys and male teachers in schools should be made aware and sensitized to support [female] pupils cope with the challenges they face during their menstrual periods,” Nsubuga directed. Nanyanzi hopes that with men on board, the silence and stigma around menstruation will end.
Healthcare-associated infection rates are high in low-income countries and are associated with significant morbidity. There is a paucity of published data on infection control practice, attitudes or resources in these settings, particularly in ophthalmology.
The aim of this study is to understand current hand washing practices, barriers to hand washing and facilities available in two Ugandan specialist eye hospitals. This study was undertaken through non-participant observations of healthcare worker hand washing practices, documentation of hand hygiene facilities and semi-strucutured interviews with clinical staff.
Results: Eighty percent of the WHO opportunities for hand washing were missed through lack of attempted hand hygiene measures.
Facilities for hand hygiene were inadequate with some key clinical areas having no provisions for hand hygiene. Training on effective hand hygiene varied widely with some staff reporting no training at all.
The staff did not perceive the lack of facilities to be a barrier to hand washing but reported forgetfulness, lack of time and a belief that they could predict when transmission might occur and therefore did not wash hands as often as recommended.
Conclusions: Hand hygiene at the two observed sites did not comply with WHO-recommended standards. The lack of facilities, variable training and staff perceptions were observable barriers to effective hand hygiene.
Simple, low-cost interventions to improve hand hygiene could include increased provision of hand towels and running water and improved staff education to challenge their views and perceived barriers to hand hygiene.
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