Low sanitation levels in Pemba worrisome

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Low sanitation levels in Pemba worrisome

Pemba, October 22, 2014, ZANIS – Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) National Coordinator Leonard Mukosha has bemoaned the low levels of sanitation adherence in Pemba district.

Mr. Mukosha said it was saddening to learn that Pemba was still among the districts whose chiefdoms were still practicing open defecation which compromised the sanitation levels in the area.

ZANIS reports that Mr Mukosha said this yesterday during a UNICEF sponsored four-day training of champion facilitators at Kanchomba Institute in Pemba, Southern province.

The programme was also attended by Chiefs Moyo and Hamaundu , the District Commissioner, Council Secretary, and other key government stakeholders in the district.

The training aims at coming up with chiefdom plans in accelerating ward and chiefdom level open defecation free achievements to meet the three million people national target to end the practice.

Mr. Mukosha disclosed that among the 280 chiefdoms only five had been certified open defecation free zones.

He was reacting to Pemba District Council Water and Sanitation Coordinator Peter Phiri ’s disclosure that none of the targeted villages in Pemba district had been certified open defecation free since the CLTS program was introduced in 2012 when the area was still under Choma.

Mr. Phiri thanked UNICEF for considering Pemba even after it was separated from Choma in funding the CLTS program which he said would help the district attain open defecation free status.

“We would like to make an earnest appeal to you our chiefs that you work hand in hand with the CLTS team through the district council in implementing CLTS so that the two chiefdoms in Pemba district can be certified defecation free in time,” Mr  Mukosha said.

He further disclosed that UNICEF as a major sponsor of CLTS program was working with key ministries to reach a target of three million people in three years to improve their sanitation levels by 2020.

He said another component of CLTS called school-led total sanitation had since been rolled out in 1,800 schools to improve girls’ sanitation through menstrual hygiene management and provision of proper toilets and water.

‘You see studies have revealed that a girl child loses five days of school in a month due to poor menstrual sanitation facilities in schools; a girl prefers to stay home until her menses are over  than be in school and get embarrassed, so we are working out modalities to see how we can improve sanitation for girls,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chiefs Moyo and Hamaundu have pledged to have their chiefdoms open defecation free by the end of the year.

Chief Moyo said he felt embarrassed that his chiefdom was counted among those that are still practicing open defecation instead of using toilets.

The two Chiefs pledged to stiffen the village sanitation by-laws in order to punish subjects found wanting.

Community led total sanitation (CLTS) is an innovative methodology for mobilizing communities to completely eliminate open defecation where they are facilitated to conduct their own appraisal and analysis of the practice.

The villagers are also encouraged to take action to become open defecation free while recognizing that merely providing toilets does not guarantee their use nor result in improved sanitation and hygiene.