Health stakeholders in Kilifi County have called upon area residents to work towards making the county open defaecation-free (ODF).
The stakeholders, who were speaking at the Malindi (HGM) Primary School in Malindi town during celebrations to mark this year’s World Toilet Days, said making the county open defaecation-free would eradicate outbreaks of communicable diseases such as cholera and bilharzia.
The Director of Health in the County Government of Kilifi, Dr. Hassan Leli, observed that the toilet coverage in the county was about 86 percent, with Rabai Sub County having already been declared open-defaecation-free and urged more residents to construct toilets to make the entire county ODF.
He said out of the 2051 villages in the county, 563 were open defaecation-free, adding that Ganze and Magarini Sub County were lagging behind in toilet coverage at 67 per cent and 58 percent respectively, noting that his office had launched a campaign to sensitize wananchi on the importance of building toilets.
“The toilets we are advocating for are not expensive to construct because even people with low incomes can build them because we are using a new technology that makes it easy to build and maintain toilets through the use of TP taps and Sato equipment, which use little water for handwashing,” he said.
He said his office was also sensitizing residents on the need to treat water before use in order to kill disease-causing germs.
He said the county government was in the process of developing the third County Integrated Development Plan in which sanitation would be given priority especially in public places such as markets.
Malindi Town Ward Representative Rashid Odhiambo stressed the need for all residents to have toilets and urged them to discard retrogressive traditions that discourage the use of common toilets in homes.
The traditions that parents and their children, parents-in-law and their sons and daughters-in-law from using the same toilets discourage use of toilets and that is why many people still defaecate in the open despite having toilets in their homes,” he said.
The Chairman of the Malindi Community Health Volunteers (CHVs), Mr. Harold Adamba said he had observed that many people were finding it easier to build houses than toilets, and that was why there was an increase in the use of ‘flying toilets’ in many informal settlements.
Malindi Sub County Medical Officer of Health Emily Karisa said there had been a marked reduction in outbreaks of diseases caused by poor sanitation partly due to the modest toilet coverage and the absence of heavy rains in the area.
She however said the construction of toilets being done in Malindi town’s informal settlements by the Malindi Water and Sewerage Company would ensure that disease outbreaks caused by poor sanitation would be a thing of the past.
In an earlier interview, MAWASCO Managing Director Jared Mwambire told the Kenya News Agency that his company, through funding from the World Bank, would construct 500 proper line toilets in Malindi town to supplement the 1,000 already constructed through the Kenya Informal Settlement Improvement Programme (KISIP).
He said the company had commenced the construction of a Ksh 500 million non-sewered sanitation project through funding from the World Bank in Sabaki area, and that waste matter from the toilets would be harvested and transported to the plant and recycled to make briquettes (blocks of compressed coal dust or peat used as fuel), among other products.
He said the County Government of Kilifi was in the process of developing a Bill which, if enacted into law, would make it mandatory for all toilets being built in urban centres be proper line toilets.