Dodoma. Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan said on Thursday, December 7, that at least 300,000 Tanzanians annually contact diarrhea due to absence of quality sanitation and hand washing facilities at home and in communities.
According to her, as of November 12, this year, a total of 270,554 Tanzanians were reported to have contacted cholera, whereby 432 of them died due to related diseases.
She warned that if this trend is not contained, then it will thwart the economy and derail government efforts of industrializing the economy, hence the need for joint intervention efforts in improving the situation.
“Statistics depicts that in Tanzania more than 600,000 households have no latrines at all, and that only 12 per cent of Tanzanians wash their hands after using toilets. This is poor records which must be improved before things get out of hand,” she warned.
She added that poor sanitation and hygiene was behind a growing spate of stunning among children under the age of five in Tanzania which is bad omen for the future of the country.
In her remarks to launch the National Sanitation and Hygiene Campaign (Phase II) here, Ms Suluhu directed regional authorities to cooperate with development partners to slash the challenge to zero.
“All district executive directors must work to assure this campaign is managed, implemented and monitored effectively in their respective areas. Prior survey proven that most public institutions and departments were short of quality sanitation and handwashing facilities, these shortfalls must be addressed immediately,” she directed.
She underscored the need for the public to back efforts by President John Magufuli in assuring for sanitation and hygiene in the country, insisting objectives of the campaign themed ‘Usichukulie Poa, Nyumba ni Choo’ (Kiswahili for ‘Don’t take matters easily, the value of the house is in having a toilet’).
She said this will help the country achieve the UN set Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“The first phase of the campaign fetched impressive results by enabling a total of 1.6 million households from different 6,628 streets in the country to construct quality toilets, but also, 21,330 primary schools benefited,” she revealed.
The Minister of State in the President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Government), Mr Selemani Jafo, in his brief remarks, assured that his office will work hard to implement the campaign soberly from grassroots level within the country.
For her part, Representative from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) in Tanzania, Ms Elizabeth Atha, said at least 18,500 children annually die globally due to poor sanitation and hygiene, equivalent to 50 children per day or 2 children in every two hours.
“UK feels proud to be part of this crucial campaign as we are expecting it will help reduce cases of diarrhoea, stunning in the country,” she said.
According to Health minister Ummy Mwalimu the launched campaign which will see at least Sh5.8 billion spent on improving sanitation, targeted to see a total of 5.6 million households with quality toilets, as well as 35,000 primary schools and 700 secondary schools from across the country.
Among stakeholders that a supporting the campaign include DFID, Plan International, World Bank, African Development Bank, World Health Organization, UNHCR and Water Aid.