WALVIS BAY - At least 70 percent of people living in rural areas and informal settlements in Namibia defecate in the open.
This is because of the perennial lack of proper sanitation such as toilets and pit latrines.
Minister of Urban and Rural development Peya Mushelenga described the situation as worrying and a ticking time bomb for water and airborne diseases.
Mushelenga was speaking here during the official opening of the three-day high-level consultative retreat with governors, regional council chairpersons, mayors and chief executive officers to tackle issues such as housing, budgetary allocations, planning and project implementations in local and regional authorities.
Access to decent sanitation and ablution facilities plays an important role, especially in rural areas and informal settlements, hence President Hage Geingob during the launch of the Harambee Prosperity Plan initiated the rural toilet project for all 14 regions.
At least 50 000 pit latrines are expected to be constructed by next year.
According to the minister, open defecation not only put Namibians health at risk but also compromises their human dignity.
“I have also noticed with concern the frequent outbreaks of water related diseases such as Hepatitis E and reports of unused government built toilet facilities in our areas of jurisdiction. However, these unfavourable conditions can be changed by designing and implementing proper policies to uphold the dignity of our people and maintain a healthy nation,” Mushelenga stated.
The minister went on to say that government through the line ministry assisted poor households especially in rural areas and informal settlements through the provision of basic sanitation programme. This includes the elimination of the bucket system and other interventions that enable communities to have access to basic amenities such as water and sanitation and will continue to do so.
“My ministry is tasked with the responsibility to initiate and coordinate development interventions that are aimed at creating basic social and economic conditions and opportunities necessary to improve the welfare and living standard of all Namibians,” he said.
He said the focus of the ministry’s rural development programme is on reducing rural poverty, rural-urban migration and improving the economic livelihoods of people residing in rural areas and to create self-employment and wealth opportunities for them.
“Hence I am calling on all governors and officials to ensure that money provided for the implementation of rural poverty eradication projects are used for the intended purpose and that such projects are implemented without delay as delayed projects translates into denied service delivery,” he emphasised.
Eveline de Klerk
2019-07-04 08:44:16 15 days ago