‘Access to toilet, sanitation facilities remain challenge’

04Dec 2017
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
‘Access to toilet, sanitation facilities remain challenge’

THE second phase of a national sanitation campaign aimed at making sure every Tanzanian has access to improved toilet is set for launch in Dodoma on Thursday.

Minister for Health Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Ummy Mwalimu

 According to a statement released yesterday by the organisers of the event, the campaign aims to use social influencers to put the message across through social media platforms that are a hit especially with the youth.

 Dubbed ‘Nipo Tayari’ (I am ready), the campaign seeks to tackle the challenge of poor sanitation following a call of action in May, this year by Minister for Health Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children Ummy Mwalimu for government and stakeholders to join efforts to urgently improve the sanitation situation in the country.

 The sensitisation will focus on ultimately achieving its ambitious yet possible goal of ending open defecation and ensuring every Tanzanian uses improved toilets and wash hands with soap thereafter.

The campaign that is funded by the UK’s DFID has received commitment from ministers, MPs, development partners and local government officials who have publicly pledged their support.  District authorities pledge to have everyone use improved toilets and wash hands with soap by 2025, end open defection and above all set monthly and yearly targets and report on the progress.

 Access to toilet and sanitation facilities remain a challenge to many in Tanzania with about five million believed to practice open air defecation which as a result is the cause of constant disease outbreaks.

 Usage of improved latrines remains low in Tanzania as 5 in 10 Tanzanians continue to use unsanitary latrines - mainly simple pits that are not easy to keep clean.

 Whereas these latrines provide the required privacy, they do not break the chain of transmission of germs that cause several serious illnesses such as diarrhoea.

 Estimates show that poor sanitation situation costs Tanzania a staggering one per cent of annual GDP, which is roughly the equivalent of the country’s electricity industry.

 The government has set a goal of ending open defecation and ensuring that every Tanzanian uses improved latrines and wash their hands with soap after toilet use by 2025.

 The initiators of the campaign believe that if this is achieved, it would help the country achieve middle-income status.

 After independence the first President of Tanzania, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere successfully led a nationwide latrine building campaign ‘Mtu ni Afya’ in the 1970s, when approximately 8 in 10 Tanzanians constructed basic toilet.

 This was followed four decades later by the national sanitation campaign in 2012 which brought renewed efforts to upgrade toilet facilities.