Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Participants of the crucial workshop to scale hygiene and sanitation  
Tanzania has embarked on a national sanitation campaign to grapple with diarrheal and other waterborne diseases compounded by a poor hygiene.
About 30,000 Tanzanians die of diarrheal and other diseases attributed to unsafe water supply and poor sanitation and hygiene practices.
Barely 20 per cent of households have access to improved sanitation and 12 per cent are known to practice open defecation countrywide, according to the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Mr Charles Pallangyo.
Mr Pallangyo was officiating at an International Workshop on Scaling up Rural Sanitation and Hygiene jointly organized by SNV Netherlands Development Organisation and the ministry.
He said the campaign, which was launched last year, primarily focused on rural and peri-urban areas where coverage was extremely low.
The permanent secretary said statistics indicated that 42 per cent of children in the country, equivalent to four Million of them, were stunted.
“These figures are not only intimidating, but also call for concerted efforts to reverse them. I am confident enough that once improved, sanitation and hygiene will significantly reduce the rate of children suffering from stunted growth,” he said.
Studies, he said, show that improved sanitation could reduce diarrheal cases by up to 32 per cent and that a mere hand washing using soap can cut down those cases by 42 per cent.
“The country, for instance, has just in 12 months of the campaign witnessed a promising change of behavior and a tremendous increase of 280,000 improved toilets and 190,000 functional hand washing points at households level,” he observed.
Twenty five per cent of the newly improved water points are already operational -- barely two years after they were constructed.
The achievement notwithstanding, over half of the rural population still lacked access to clean water, said Mr Pallangyo, stressing that he believed the trend could be reversed if the construction of water supply infrastructure is given due priority.
Lack of clean and safe water as well as poor hygiene significantly hampers the performance in the educational sector, according to the SNV online report.
In 2011, only 9 per cent of schools countrywide were furnished with clean toilets and only 11 of schools had latrines sufficient enough to serve all pupils.
Forty five per cent of schools compounds were not supplied with clean water and only 14 per cent of them had hand-washing facilities, putting girls, in particular, in a precarious situation.
SNV’s support mainly focuses water supply and sanitation facilities in rural communities and in schools. “We work with local government and communities to jointly improve rural and school water points, sanitation and hygiene facilities,” Mr. Martijn Veen, Acting Director SNV Tanzania said.
Mr. Martijn Veen said SNV also supported ministries of respective nations in formulating and harmonizing effective approaches for interacting with local authorities.
“We also support communities and local governments to establish mutual accountability relations for quality and reliable service delivery,” Mr. Martijn Veen said.
The workshop attracted 45 participants, all working on rural sanitation and hygiene in Nepal, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and the host, Tanzania.
In attendance also were professionals from other development organisations and government, collaboration with SNV in the above countries.
The four-day workshop is part of the learning activities of SNV’s Sustainable Sanitation and Hygiene for All Programme. The learning activities are not limited to the programme, but intended to promote discussion among partners about best practices and up scaling strategies in rural sanitation and hygiene.


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