All government run health centres operating without latrines should close, the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has intimated.
During the opening of the inaugural parliamentary symposium on water and sanitation at Parliament on Friday, 15 November 2019, Kadaga said she was disgusted to learn that a big number of government health centres in Uganda do not have latrines.
“If 85 percent of government health facilities do not have toilets, we should close them. We should create a crisis in the country. Let us close them and then government will wake up,” she said.
Speaker Kadaga said she was disturbed that just like it is the case with latrine coverage, Uganda is also grappling with low levels of water coverage, calling on the Ministry of Water and Environment to refrain from painting a wrong picture of a higher coverage in the country.
“I want to ask the Ministry of Water to stop talking about the 79 percent water coverage because I have spent the last four years providing water in Kamuli District. I have moved around Karamoja and the percentage is about 45. Be sincere and we shall help you,” Kadaga said.
She revealed that in her constituency, water shortage had become the source of domestic violence as more men were beating their wives for spending more time fetching water from far off areas. She further said children were getting raped as they trekked long distances searching for water.
Kadaga urged legislators on the Parliamentary Forum on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) to interest themselves in budgetary allocations for water and sanitation in the next financial year, urging them to fight for increased funding.
The Chairperson Parliamentary Forum on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Hon. Jaqueline Amongin (NRM, Ngora District) reiterated the forum has in response to poor sanitation indicators, prepared a Private Member’s Bill on menstrual health and hygiene to urge government to commit to issues of menstrual health and hygiene.
The Commissioner for Environmental Health in the Ministry of Health, Dr Julian Komuhangi, said the country is generally performing poorly in a range of sanitation and hygiene indicators, with people in many districts still practicing open defecation.
The symposium themed, “The role of Parliament in positioning water, sanitation and hygiene as a key driver for national development” was organised by Parliament’s Forum on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in partnership with Ministry of Health, Ministry of Water and Environment and UNICEF among many others development partners implementing WASH programmes.