Uganda spends $157mn to fight hygiene-related illness

Almost 64 percent of Uganda's rural population has access to safe water

Uganda spends $157mn to fight hygiene-related illness
World Bullentin/News Desk
Uganda continues to suffer water supply problems while spending a whopping $157 million per annum to fight hygiene-related diseases.

"Uganda, like many developing countries, suffers problems of water supply," Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda told board members of WaterAid, an international NGO devoted to promoting water, sanitation and hygiene education.

"Lake Victoria is just a few kilometers from here, but there are many people in Kampala without safe water – which is also the case in the countryside," he said.

Lake Victoria is the largest tropical lake in the world and the second largest freshwater lake by surface area.

As of June 2014, almost 73 percent of Uganda's urban population has access to safe water, according to the Water and Environment Ministry. In the countryside, however, the figure falls to 64 percent.

Rugunda said some 85 percent of the diseases found in Uganda were sanitation- and hygiene-related, with a high incidence of diseases such as diarrhea, intestinal worms, cholera, dysentery, typhoid and scabies, among others.

"As a result of poor sanitation, the country is incurring excessive costs from diseases related to poor sanitation and hygiene," he added.

"We spend $8.1 million… for a health facility to treat sanitation- and hygiene-related illness; $147 million for premature deaths associated with sanitation and hygiene and related diseases; and $1.9 million on epidemic outbreaks resulting from poor sanitation and hygiene," Rugunda lamented.

He said the government was currently implementing a multi-sectoral approach to the problem aimed at increasing local supplies of clean water and improving sanitation.

Rugunda added that the government was also integrating programs for covering latrines and promoting thorough hand washing.

Helping hand

WaterAid Executive Director Barbara Frost said her organization was visiting Uganda to hear what the government, civil society and private sector were doing to resolve the issue.

"We are doing it in part to help us think about how WaterAid can be most effective over the next five years in contributing as a member of civil society," she told the Anadolu Agency.

WaterAid has been operating in Uganda for the last 30 years.

"We want to focus on and address those people who haven't got access [to safe water]… who don't have toilets, who have poor hygiene," said Frost.

"We want to increase our impact, either by increasing funding or trying to do things differently," she added.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 08 Aralık 2014, 23:40