By Moses Kyeyune
The Speaker of Parliament has asked the government to close health facilities that operate without toilets or pit latrines.
This is after a revelation by the Assistant Commissioner Environmental Health in the Ministry of health Julian Kyomuhangi that 85 percent of government facilities have no such facilities.
The Speaker was on Friday presiding at the inaugural Water and Sanitation Symposium at Parliament. She said such facilities should be closed, lest people get diseases.
“We should close them; I think we should create a crisis in this country, close them and then the government will wake up,” said Kadaga.
She added, “We deal with emergencies on the road, emergency here and there why not an emergency in the health sector; I think we as a country are facilitating sickness in the government health facilities.”
The Speaker also cautioned the Ministry of Water and Environment against flagging false figures of national coverage that deceive the public.
The Director of Urban Water and Sewerage Department, Domic Kavutse said they are standing at 79 percent, a figure which Kadaga said is wrong.
“Stop talking about the 79% coverage of water in this country. I come from a rural area, I have spent the last four years supplying water in Kamuli and people have no water. Please speak the truth, you stand at something like 45, be sincere and we shall help you,” said Ms Kadaga.
The Parliamentary Forum on Water and Sanitation Health is agitating for improved wash coverage across the country, to improve menstrual hygiene management.
Ms Jacqueline Amongin (Ind, Ngora County North) who also chairs the Parliamentary Wash Forum urged parliament to prioritize WASH in not only its routine but also while budgeting.
She said that the problem of attitudes should be fixed. “There is poor attitude towards sanitation and hygiene. You carry waste from another place and liter it all over,” said Ms Amongin.
The MP also said that since the government which should have worked on a bill on menstrual health and hygiene is taking its time, three years down the road, they (MPs) have been compelled to start a draft for a Private Members Bill.
The Speaker Rebecca Kadaga was dismayed by endless demands for political rights in the presence of a glaring need for sanitation and better health.
“There is a tendency to talk a lot and agitate for the right to assembly but I rarely hear about the right to health, right to food, the right to improved sanitation. These have been turned into secondary rights. We need to focus on that area,” she said.
She also said that Uganda has become a dustbin for littering. “The people in Rwanda cannot throw kaveera in their country but the moment they cross to Uganda they start littering all over; then we sell to them maize and they come littering the cobs all the way to Kampala,” Kadaga said.