National, News

Majority citizens still practice open-defecation

By William Madouk


At least 63 percent of South Sudanese across the country still practice open defecation, according to the UNICEF and WHO 2019 joint monitoring program report.

UNICEF deputy country representative, Mr. Kamil Kamil, said South Sudan continues to be affected by conflict coupled with the impact of climate change, a lack of infrastructure, food insecurity, and limited access to clean water.

“This protracted conflict has continued to affect the ever-declining rate of access to basic facilities, including safe water. This has, in turn, increased children’s vulnerability to waterborne diseases, mainly in the flooded area,” said Kamil.

“WASH coverage continues to be very low, with basic water supply at 41 percent and basic sanitation at 11 percent,” he added.

He made this remark during the launch of the South Sudan Parliamentary Caucus on Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) on Friday.

According to Kamil, the alarming part is due to the majority of South Sudanese who still practice open defecation.

“The most alarming trend is that 63 percent of the population still practices over-defecation,” he noted.

Mr. Kamil highlighted the importance of people pondering sanitation hygiene and raising awareness about the proper disposal of human waste.

“Vulnerable groups, including malnourished children, indeed believe that improvements in drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene are essential for progress in other development areas, such as nutrition, education, health, and gender equality,” he noted.

“UNICEF also provides much more support for the operation and maintenance of improved hygiene and sanitation services, which will have an impact on improving the health and well-being of children and women,” he added.

He cited that the Presidential Campaign presents four commitments with a clear implementation roadmap and the government of the Republic of South Sudan through the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation.

And that is increasing budget allocation for WASH services, effecting exclusive tax exemptions for imported water and sanitation construction material and spare parts, to scale up WASH investment in the country.

He added that the president has pledged to pursue community-led total sanitation in a phased approach to end urban defecation in the country.

This will be achieved through integrated and coordinated efforts and practical steps to improve transparent and accountable wash services and service delivery, which includes the standing specialized committee on water resources and irrigation, bypassing the Water Bill 2024.

Most people have no access to basic sanitation; others have not dug latrines, leaving them with no option but to relieve themselves in the open.

The lack of pit latrines is at the core of faecal-oral disease transmission, which remains common in those areas.

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