The County government of Kilifi through the Malindi Water and Sewerage Company has started construction of toilets in estates and villages to curb outbreaks of communicable and waterborne diseases.

This is after it was discovered that the diseases were still rampant in the area due to poor sanitation with many people especially in the villages defecating in the open.

According to the Kilifi County Director of health services Dr Hassan Leli, open defecation in the area was still rampant due to various factors including culture where some family members are not allowed to share a toilet hence forcing them to relieve themselves in surrounding bushes and thickets.

“We have coverage of 86 percent Open Defecation Free (ODF), in all our sub counties and in Rabai Sub County we have managed to score 100 percent ODF. The challenge now lies in Magarini and Ganze which still have many homes without toilets,” he said.

There are 2,051 villages in the entire County and 563 are ODF free, a move Dr Leli said was encouraging.

“We encourage residents to construct toilets and through MAWASCO we are also constructing toilets in Malindi Sub County to improve sanitation,” he added.

Mr Michael Baya, a resident of Kisumu Ndogo area said that residents were using unhealthy means of disposing of their human waste and that flying toilets are common.

“We have those who use flying toilets and some mix the human waste with normal trash and dump them in the illegal dumpsites hence exposing everybody, especially children to health risk. We thank MAWASCO for helping us construct more toilets,” he said.

Landlords have also been cited as contributors of poor sanitation since most of them put up rental houses without enough toilets hence forcing tenants to queue.

“People construct houses but forget about toilets and in rental premises, as many as 20 tenants share a single toilet hence it offers the opportunity for them to seek alternatives that are usually unhealthy,” said Mr Harold Adamba, a community health volunteer in Malindi.

He added that 200 new toilets will be constructed by MAWASCO while the dilapidated ones will get a face lift.

According to the Malindi Sub County director of health services Emily Karisa, communicable and waterborne diseases went down because of the dry weather but are set to break out as the rainy season sets in.

“The cases were low but with the coming of the rain we are set to witness a rise in cases of diarrhea and pneumonia which are associated with poor sanitation,” she said.

Malindi town ward Member of County Assembly (MCA) Rashid Odhiambo challenged residents to abandon some cultural beliefs that tend to contribute to poor sanitation like defecating in the bush and called for construction of toilets in public places.

“Toilets should be constructed in public places since we don’t have toilets in play grounds and markets. We support the sewage plant being put up at Sabaki area that will not only improve sanitation but it will create new products from waste and also create employment,” he said.

MAWASCO is also putting up a Sh. 500 million sewage treatment plant that is partly funded by the World Bank at Sabaki area in Malindi town.

The Faecal Sludge Treatment Facility will be the first of its kind in Malindi and will be connected to an 80 kilometer sewer line.

Malindi town and its environs does not have a proper sewage system which makes waste management a headache to residents. Parts of the town are also below sea level hence making sewage waste management a problem.

The firm is also in the process of constructing community sewer tanks where the waste will be pooled together and collected to the main plant at Sabaki.

By Treeza Auma

Treeza Auma is a Digital Content Producer and founder of KTMN She is also Television journalist at Kenya News Agency and Leadership Accelerator at Women in News.

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