Published on: 07/02/2017
The Uganda Sanitation Fund (USF) is set to expand to Napak district located in the Karamoja sub-region in North-eastern Uganda. Napak district is one of eight more districts selected to implement the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) funded USF programme in Uganda. This will bring the total number of districts to 38 that will contribute towards creating a robust demand for sanitation to the point that people will seek out creative ways to install toilets in their communities and stop open defecation. This will eventually increase the development and utilization of sanitation and hygiene facilities with a goal of contributing to the reduction of morbidity and mortality rates due to sanitation related diseases among the people in the programme area.
Julian Kyomuhangi, Assistant Commissioner in charge of the Environmental Health division in the Ministry of Health, who led the WSSCC/USF delegation to Napak confirmed the selection of the district during a familiarisation visit on 13 November 2016 at the district headquarters in Lokitede. "The USF has received more funds and will now extend its programme to Napak district starting in financial year 2017/18. Initial consultations will be held soon with the district and a memorandum of understanding will be signed. An indicative budget of over UGX 131 million per year will be availed to the district for the programme and all the other sanitation stakeholders including civil society organisations will be involved," Kyomuhangi confirmed.
Matilda Jerneck, GSF Programme Officer also confirmed that the visit to Napak district was to understand the sanitation situation in the district, in terms of what the district had, what made the district unique, the challenges faced and what gaps still required more work and support.
"The GSF programme is exclusively for sanitation and it is behavior change oriented focused on empowering communities to change using a holistic approach in an entire geographical area," Jerneck added.
Welcoming the delegation to Napak district and pledging support to the USF, the district Vice Chairman stressed that issues of sanitation and hygiene were still problematic in the entire region and the USF programme will be of great help in improving latrine coverage from 22% to 100%. "We need more support to improve our sanitation situation and to encourage the communities to embrace acceptable sanitation and hygiene approaches. We also need to decongest the manyattas (settlements or compounds) to ensure that households have separate latrines," he added.
Isaiah Loput, Napak district Health Inspector shared various approaches that the district was already using to address sanitation challenges, including use of law enforcement, continuous community dialogue meetings, CLTS (community-led total sanitation), involvement of communities and water user committees in the protection of water sources as well as joint monitoring with various implementing partners. He noted, however, that the district still faced many sanitation challenges such as the unsafe water chain, poor waste management practices at household level, vandalism of water sources by users and animals and laxity of some households in maintenance of toilets among others, hence the need for the USF programme.