By Gad Masereka
Luwero: There was Chaos and discomfort in Wobulenzi town Luwero District where over 500 residents who had come for a free health service enforced the area Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Phoebe Namulindwa to stop her speech and first inspect the state of public toilets in the area.
This happened when Namulindwa was gracing a health week camp organized by Wobulenzi and Kampala Nsambya Rotary Club in Wobulenzi town council, 21 August 2019 where residents had turned up for free health services including sickle cells and cancer screening, Hepatitis B Vaccination, eye care, blood donation, malaria, diarrhea and general treatment.
It was a shock when Namulindwa found Public toilets at Wobulenzi taxi park very dirty, water sink broken, walls smashed with pupu and heavy stretch coming from the facility.
Namulindwa noted that such dirty toilets force residents to resort to open defecation, which lead to the spread of disease outbreaks, the situation which wasn’t any different with the public toilet at Wobulenzi playground and Nakadingidi zone.
Sam Musaazi a business man said, many people depended on public toilets since most of the commercial buildings lack toilets.
Musaazi added that although, they pay Shillings 300 for each toilet visit, the town council failed to rehabilitate them. Residents expressed fear of contracting diseases because the dirty toilets.
Ishahak Mugema, the Luweero District Male Youth councilor, said they are at risk of contracting cholera because of poor sanitation in the public toilets in town.
Mugema said although there are many interventions such as health camps to treat people, these efforts will go to waste unless the poor sanitation is addressed.
Moses Ssebalamu, the Wobulenzi Town Council LC 3 Chairperson, regretted the state of affairs and promised to follow up the issue with the responsible officers.
A report from Luweero District Health shows that about 622 people were treated of acute diarrhea, 49 typhoid and 35 dysentery in the 2018/19 financial year in Wobulenzi town council.
Recently, reports emerged indicating that more than 30 shops in Wobulenzi town council were operating without toilets putting the lives of more than 100 traders at risk of contracting diseases.
The affected traders have resorted to open defection and using buckets and polythene bags, which they dump in drainage systems.
According to Population and Housing Census 2016, about 3.2 % (966) of 30,200 projected residents in Wobulenzi town council have no toilet facilities.
The Ministry of Water and Environment Sector Performance report 2017 shows that about 80% of the disease burden in Uganda is sanitation-related. It shows that up to 20% Ugandans defecate in the open.