The County Government of Migori in partnership with other stakeholders has joined the rest of the world in commemorating World Toilets Day reflecting on major milestones towards making the county an Open Defecation Free Zone

The County department of Public health marked this by reflecting on the milestones that the County has made in constructing public toilets in open air markets and residential places to prevent cholera outbreak and other opportunistic diseases.

According to Dancun Arunda, the County Public Health Officer, the event which was held at Osiri Matanda was strategic following the recent outbreak of cholera in the area which claimed three lives.

While addressing this, Arunda confirmed that the Word Toilets Day aims at creating awareness about the need for creating an Open Defecation Free Zones towards curbing cholera outbreak.

“As we celebrate this great day, we aim at creating awareness on the need to create and Open Defecation Free environment which boosts our efforts towards preventing Cholera outbreak in Migori.

Dancun Arunda, Migori County Public Health Officer.

Osiri Matanda which is an artisanal mining site hosts over 2,000 residents including those working in the quarry, making it the largest artisanal mining site in Migori County.

Dancun Arunda, Migori County Public Health Officer during an interview on World Toilets Day celebrations at Osiri Matanda, Migori County. Photo by HANDEL ChOP; IGM RADIO.

With most of the residents living temporarily, they find it hard to construct toilets adding to the rocky nature of the place, a major cause of open defecation for most of the residents.

”With the low toilet coverage in this area, most of those working in the quarry or doing business opt for an open defecation system of waste disposal,” added Arunda.

With the lessons from the last cholera outbreak whereby the area recorded 47 cases, the County in coordination with development partners have today launched a public toilet in the area to show its commitment to creating Open Defecation Free environment.

The Public toilet whose launch was graced by the area Member of County Assembly, Felix Okwanyo has four rooms making it capable of serving both male and female residents.

According to Arunda, the facility will be multipurpose, serving both as a public toilet as well as a public sanitary facility to help the female users dispose their sanitary towels.

This will be made possible by availing sanitary pits around the facility to enable women and girls easily dispose their used pads without shame.

“As a department, we intend to use this facility both for defecation as well as helping women during their menstruation periods to dispose their sanitary pads.

Tom Odhong’, Migori County Director, Public Health

According to Tom Odhong’, the County Director for Public Health and Sanitation, the department has made several intervention including ensuring that landlords put up toilets before operationalizing the rentals.

He added that with the interventions in place, Migori County now has 97% toilet coverage in 2023, showing a great improvement from 46% in 2014.

This now ranks seventh nationally in terms of toilet cover, an achievement that he attributes to the continued coordination with development stakeholders.

“As a County, with the major interventions, we have moved to the seventh position nationally with 97% toilets coverage which is a good thing that we are proud to be associated with.

Tom Odhong’, Migori County Director, Public Health.

To ensure that the efforts to end open defecation in the area and Migori County in general, the director said that the department has distributed hand washing facilities in the residential areas.

This accompanied with the ultimatums that confine landlords to put in place toilets in the residential areas will go a long way in ensuring that the county achieves 100% toilet coverage.

The County has also partnered with health promoter organization such as Lixil Sato and Western Water Sanitation whose mandate is to ensure that all residential areas have toilets.

Macalder Kanyarwanda MCA Felix Okwanyo with County Director Public Health Tom Odhong’ commissioning a public toilet at Osiri Matanda Gold Mines. Photo by Peter Ologi; KTMN

Mary Ojwang who is a health practitioner has been at the forefront in creating awareness on the need to have toilets in every compound to avoid unnecessary waste disposal.

For her, the move by the County Government is a move in the right direction in ensuring that the area which has a high catchment populations has good waste disposal.

Her plea however, is for the county to bring more toilets which will ensure that the residents have enough to dispose their wates.

“As we celebrate this day, we thank the County Government putting up this wonderful facility which will be key in ensuring that we have a proper waste disposal. However, we still plead with the public health department to do more of such toilets.

Mary Ojwang, nurse and sanitation officer, Nyatike.

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