HEALTH HAZARD

5.6 million Kenyans lack toilets — Unicef

Study shows 15.3% of the 5.6 million people are in rural areas

In Summary

• Report released yesterday shows only Kitui, Siaya and Busia counties have been declared open-defaecation free.

• 17 counties have less than 1 per cent people practising open defaecation, representing 64,000 people

Unicef's chief of Water and Sanitation Andrew Trevett speaks in Nairobi on April 16
DANGER: Unicef's chief of Water and Sanitation Andrew Trevett speaks in Nairobi on April 16
Image: MAGDALINE SAYA

More than five million Kenyans, about  12 per cent of the population,  still practices open defaecation, the latest Unicef report indicates.

The study shows 15.3 per cent of the 5.6 million people is in the rural areas.

According to 'Realising Open Defecation Free Rural Kenya 2018: Achievements and the Road Ahead', 13,328 villages (17 per cent) have been certified open-defecation free.

 

The report released in Nairobi yesterday says only Kitui, Siaya and Busia counties have been declared open-defecation-free.

“Seventy-nine per cent of open defecators are located in 13 counties. Efforts should be concentrated in those high-burden counties to make a significant impact on OD,” Unicef Kenya sanitation Manager Julie Aubriot said.

Turkana has the highest rate of open defaecation at 681 cases. Mandera is second with 356 cases, followed by Kwale with at 355.

West Pokot, Narok, Migori Wajir, Kilifi and Baringo have 341, 332, 254, 233 and 206 cases, respectively.

Others are Baringo, Homa Bay, Garissa, Samburu and Marsabit with 195, 190, 186, 185 and 163, respectively.

Seventeen counties have less than 1 per cent people practising open defaecation, representing 64,000 people.

Murang’a, Embu, Kakamega, Kiambu, Mombasa, Vihiga, Meru, Taita Taveta, Nyamira, Tharaka Nithi, Nyandarua and Kirinyanga each have less than 10 cases of open defecation.

“As open defecation has already been abandoned in these counties, a strategy needs to be defined to address the quality of latrines and ensure hand washing facilities are in place,” Aubriot said.

Aubriot said unless the strategy is changed, the dream of Kenya being certified ODF by 2020 is far from achievable based on the current pace.

Unicef Kenya sanitation Manager Julie Aubriot presents the report in Nairobi on April 16, 2019
Unicef Kenya sanitation Manager Julie Aubriot presents the report in Nairobi on April 16, 2019
Image: MAGDALINE SAYA:

She said despite significant achievements in 2018, rapid acceleration of efforts is needed.

“Investing in sanitation is a long-term solution. For every one dollar invested in sanitation, more than $5 are returned as savings derived from communities needing less healthcare, travelling less to clinics and missing less work due to illness,” she said.

Chief of Water and Sanitation at Unicef Andrew Trevett said Kenya is among 26 countries in the world that are responsible for 90 per cent of open defecation.

This, he said, has serious economic and health implications, urging a portfolio of solutions that fit rural and urban contexts.

“Open defaecation has led to outbreaks of cholera, mothers have lost babies to diarrhoea, which is the second killer because of poor sanitation,” Trevett said.