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| Last Updated:21/02/2014

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Uganda: Rugunda Urges More Attention On Sanitation

PIUS OPAE PAPA, Allafrica, 20 February 2014


The minister for Health, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, has called for better prioritisation of sanitation projects so as to improve an ailing but very important sector.


Addressing a sanitation conference at Serena hotel on Tuesday, Rugunda said sanitation activities had not been sustainable due to low funding, compared to other programmes. He, however, promised to push for improvements.


"I wish to call upon all the different stakeholders to move away from intervention-based projects and focus on sustainability-based projects to boost sanitation," Rugunda said.


An estimated 2.6 million people die worldwide every year from sanitation and hygiene-related diseases. The three-day conference, organised by the International Water and Sanitation Centre, together with Water for People, is aimed at increasing water and latrine coverage in rural and urban areas of the East and Southern African countries.


Addressing officials from 21 countries from East and Southern Africa, the assistant commissioner of environmental health at the ministry of Health, Juliana Kyomuhangi, said Uganda was spending billions treating diseases brought about by poor sanitation.


"Even with the Shs 30bn we spend on treating sanitation and hygiene-related-diseases annually, the sanitation standard in Uganda has remained [poor]," Kyomuhangi said.


She added that even with Shs 30bn, the country had not managed to achieve water supply countrywide whose coverage is currently standing at 64 per cent in rural areas and 71 per cent in urban areas as compared to neighbouring Kenya that stands at 80 per cent.


According to Jane Nabunya, the country director of International Water and Sanitation Centre, most families in Uganda both in rural and urban areas still use flying toilets where polythene bags are used as pit latrines before disposing the wastes in the open. Nabunya said the flying toilets had been encouraged by the presence of weak laws in the country.