District authorities lay strategies for disease control for refugees and host community

By Jurugo Emmanuel

Obongi district health department has threatened to take tough measures against individuals in all the refugee settlements and institutions that are not having sanitation and hygiene related facilities at their home states or institutions as a move to curtail disease outbreaks in the district.

Obongi is one of the districts in West Nile where over 10,000 South Sudanese refugees are settled.

The call for each home to have hygiene promotional facilities was sound during the launch of sanitation week held on Tuesday at Lomunga primary school playground in Gimara Sub County.
Globally sanitation week always starts on 15th of March and ends on 21st of the same every year. Muhindu Geoffrey the senior health educator Obongi district local government said during the week they will embark on community sensitization focusing on things like latrine, bath shelter, water points, rubbish pit, and kitchen among which must all be in a good state to promote best practices for disease prevention and control. “At least 75% of the diseases in the district are preventable, and the purpose of the sanitation week to educate local population on importance of having sanitation facilities. Within the week we shall move to the community talking about cleanness in each home state,” Mr. Muhindu remarked.

According to Iranya Dominic, the Obongi district water officer, the latrine coverage in Obongi district stands at 84% whereas 42% of the total population access water from un-improved water sources such as surface water.

He noted that before creation of Obongi district in 2019, the locals were moving close to 3 kilometres to access improved water sources compared to the current situation of 1.5 kilometre radius.

Mr. Iranya attributed the low latrine coverage in the district to poor soil texture especially among the settlements along the river banks being affected by the recent floods.

Deputy Chief administrative officer Obongi district Lokoroi Charles Okui added that plans are underway to improve water supply systems in the district. “We have mapped areas that lack clean and safe water since time immemorial.

Boreholes and tap water systems are going to be drilled and installed, Lomunga is almost done but we are facing challenge of pipes being cut by unknown people,” Mr. Lokoroi said.
The launch was held under theme sanitation and hygiene for all, a key disease prevention.

Garcia Fatuma, the secretary for gender and community services in Obongi district said the district has continued to lag behind in sanitation and hygiene related concerns which calls for actions to improve the status core of the district.

According Fatuma, general cleaning in the homes and public places shall be undertaken to showcase in sanitation and hygiene promotion. “Sanitation activities will be carried out at household, community, village and institution levels to address the gaps,” she commented.

She added that the high level of disease spread in the communities is partly due to poor sanitation and hygiene.

Garcia urged the masses to be conscious since there is an outbreak of meningitis in the district.  “A lot of things are missing in our homes, therefore from today you need to check yourself so as to achieve the goal of the launch of disease prevention in the families and communities,” Mrs. Fatuma said.
According to reports, only 42% of the people in Obongi wash their hands during critical times like after visiting toilet or before eating something which exposes them to various infections.

The sanitation week 2023 will end with the celebration of world water day on 22 march 2023.

The district venue for Obongi is in Itula Sub County.

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