A recent survey by SNV, a non-profit international development organization, exposed that despite the Ministry of Health declaring Alebtong District open-defecation-free in 2019, 13,472 residents there are still practicing open defecation. The district, home to around 300 thousand people, is grappling with a sanitation crisis.
The survey data indicates that out of the total population, 80,257 individuals share or have limited access to toilet facilities, 122,391 have improved toilets, and 31,816 have basic toilet facilities.
Additionally, 275,739 households possess handwashing facilities, with 4,873 lacking soap, and 6,019 having both soap and handwashing facilities.
During the belated World Toilet Day celebration at Alebtong Primary School, David Kennedy Odongo, the District Chairperson, acknowledged the report, emphasizing the need for proper sanitary facilities in every household, such as pit latrines and handwashing spots.
Odongo made five pronouncements, including giving leaders a month to install approved latrines and handwashing facilities at their homes and setting an example for the community.
Another announcement involved drafting a by-law against open defecation by all sub-counties and Town Councils, to be presented for approval in January 2024.
Brenda Angom, an Environmental Health Officer from the Ministry of Water and Environment-Lira office, underscored the ministry’s efforts to promote hygiene and sanitation, urging stakeholders to collaborate in addressing the district’s challenges.
Jillian Akullo, the Alebtong Resident District Commissioner (RDC), expressed concern about the statistics and urged residents around learning institutions to have their own sanitary facilities if they cannot access them at schools.
Tony Ogwal, the chairperson LC III of Alebtong Town Council, revealed the formation of sanitation committees in each ward and cell to enhance latrine coverage, along with a fine of Shs200,000 for any household without a latrine.
Pupils from Alebtong Primary School delivered a short poem on World Toilet Day, urging proper waste disposal and the importance of having latrines in every institution and household.
On World Toilet Day, the district leadership designated construction sites for pit latrines at five different schools as part of efforts to improve sanitation. November 19, designated by the United Nations, prioritizes global sanitation for all and aims to break taboos around toilets.