Lack of funds hampers rural sanitation

WINDHOEK Nationally there have been an increase in resources allocation to the social sector in terms of health, housing, education and land servicing.

However, Kabbe South Constituency Councillor John Likando who was contributing to the 2018/19 national budgets in the National Council said the Zambezi Region has no funds at all on provision of basic sanitation in rural areas and construction of teachers' houses.

For the 2018/19 budget the government has made a provision of N$378 million for development projects in the Zambezi Region.

He was quick to say it is not only the Zambezi, adding the same zero figures appear in Omusati, Omaheke, Ohangwena, Kavango East and //Kharas regions.

Likando said much is needed to provide these sanitary amenities to the rural communities. Instead he said focus have been placed on funding local authorities which he says are able to generate their own funds from the services they provide.

He requested the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development to revisit the need for basic sanitation in rural areas in order to balance the existing social inequality among citizens.

Equally, he said the residents in the Kabbe flood plain areas are in dire need of a health facility as they are exposed to dangers and a lot of waterborne diseases.

The issue of health is said to be very serious, especially at Kasika, Muzii, Mpukano, Namiyundu and Nankuntwe.

Flood-prone settlements of Kabbe in Zambezi are at high risk of contracting waterborne diseases as the affected villagers in those settlements have no proper ablution facilities, and potable drinking water is a pipe dream.

According to the Namibia Sanitation and Hygiene Program, nearly 1.3 million of Namibia's population of just over 2 million do not have access to proper toilet facilities, including 84 per cent of all people living in rural areas.

Diarrhoea is the second highest cause of paediatric admissions in Namibia and is responsible for more than 30 per cent of deaths in children under the age of five.

Due to the absence of sanitation facilities people have resorted to open defecation practice, which in turn has an impact on their health.

Diseases such as diarrhoea and pneumonia resulting from poor sanitation and open defecation are the leading causes of childhood morbidity and mortality in Namibia, states the data from the Ministry of Health and Social Services.

Due to heavy flooding experienced in the Zambezi, many schools and villages in Kabbe have been cut off, exposing people to harsh conditions, as they have to cross streams using dugout canoes, risking their lives to attacks from crocodiles lurking in the water.

Likando said the residents are so patient that they no longer need to report the same thing on the lack of health facilities to their leaders instead they go and seek assistance from neighbouring countries such as Zambia and Botswana that has facilities near them at exorbitant costs.

Furthermore, he also expressed concern over the people in the eastern Zambezi flood plains, saying they remain isolated from the rest of the country during flood season due to lack of river transport system.

He said each year flood comes people die due to human wildlife conflicts along the main river and channel when they risk their lives by travelling via dugout canoes which are often toppled by dangerous animals such as hippos.

Likando bemoaned that seven years has passed since Kapelwa Kabajani ferry was commissioned to assist the flood prone residents to move around but nothing has gone from the ground.

All we are told is bureaucratic excuses and blame shifting among offices. Are we sure we want to reduce poverty with this kind of attitudes towards the rural communities? he queried.

Source: New Era Newspaper Namibia