The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Diana Atwine has revealed that at least 14.6 million people, representing 32.4% of the total population, still practice open defecation, a practice she said is contributing to diarrheal diseases in the country.
While officiating at the launch of Sanitation Week on Monday, Dr. Atwine said open defecation happens both in rural and urban areas, but it is more prevalent in the former.
“Despite government’ s interventions on sanitation and hygiene, Uganda continues to grapple with Water and Sanitation (WASH) challenges with 23% and 9.4 % of the population still practicing open defecation in rural and urban areas, respectively,“ Atwine said.
“ Similarly, 36 percent of communities in the country have basic sanitation facilities, 24 percent of which are in rural areas and 47.9% are in urban areas, while hand washing in rural areas is at 35.8 percent and 53.8 percent for urban,” she added.
Dr. Atwine also expressed concern over the continued existence of poor food hygiene and safety practices such as selling food from unclean premises, food preparation over open drainage lines, indiscriminate disposal of wastes, and poor housing that continue, to paint a glossy picture of the country in terms of sanitation, and hygiene and the national disease burden of preventable ailments.