Over 50,000 people residing in slums in Mbale Municipality do not have access to pit-latrines. Mbale Municipality has a population of about 86,000 people, while the district has over 400,000 people.
Richard Wandoba, the officer in charge of health and hygiene in the National Slum Dwellers Federation of Uganda Mbale region (NSDF), told New Vision that a study carried out by the federation had indicated that only 25% of the residents have access to makeshift pit-latrines.
The report showed that the most affected areas are Mission Cell, Nkoma, Kiteso, Kampala road in Nkoma and Kichafu. Others are Mooni, Kikamba, Nabuyo, Shaba, Maluku, Nailoni, Doko, Half London, Muvule Cell, Nyanza, and BCU quarters.
Wandoba said the survey revealed that an average household in the slums consists of between five to 15 people, residing in dilapidated mud shelters. He explained that the families living in these areas do not have enough space, adding that women cook near stinking roofless pit-latrines, exposing them to the risk of contracting various diseases. Traders have set up food kiosks near the polluted streams.
He said the population in the slums is rising yet the only economic activity carried out is brewing malwa, adding that revellers use dark corners in the slums to dispose of waste, while others use plastic bags. Residents with makeshift toilets, Wandoba said, have polluted the water bodies by channelling waste from the toilets into them.
He noted that the federation had initiated awareness campaigns through the health and hygiene committee to sensitise the residents on the dangers of poor waste management.
Wandoba said they had received sh40m through the Slum Dwellers International Association to construct pit-latrines in each division.
He said they were waiting for Mbale municipal council to approve the land where the pit-latrines will be constructed.
“We shall start building as soon as land is available. When works are completed, residents will have to pay sh100 that will be used to pay cleaners,” said Wandoba.
Source: Paul Watala, New Vision /allAfrica.com, 7 October 2010