01 Apr 2014 14:00pm
WINDHOEK, 01 APR (NAMPA) - More than 60 per cent of the Namibian population lacks access to improved sanitation facilities, United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) country representative to Namibia, Micaela de Sousa said on Tuesday.
De Sousa announced this during the southern Africa regional workshop on Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS), which commenced in Windhoek on Tuesday.
Improved sanitation facilities refer to facilities that ensure hygienic separation of human excreta from human contact.
The three-day workshop is aimed at building consensus amongst experts to scale up sanitation coverage and promote sustainable hygiene behaviour change in the southern Africa region.
Namibia is currently classified as an upper middle-income country.
This status disguises the extreme inequalities in income distribution, standards of living, access to services such as sanitation, and quality of life left by the apartheid legacy, which lingers even 24 years after Independence,´ De Sousa stated.
She said the sanitation situation is worse in rural areas, as 94 per cent of people in rural Namibia do not have access to improved sanitation.
Levels of sanitation coverage in some regions are lower than the national average, with the Ohangwena Region at 11 per cent and Omusati Region at 17 per cent.
This means that more than half of the Namibian population uses the bush or defecates in the open as an alternative to a toilet, compromising the nation's health and development, she states.
The Unicef country representative to Namibia also indicated that one in five schools do not have access to toilets, and that 298 schools in the rural areas do not have sanitation facilities.
She also revealed that 94 per cent of those schools without toilets are concentrated in flood-prone regions - Omusati, Ohangwena, Oshana, Zambezi, and the two Kavango regions.
Globally, about 2,5 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation. This figure translates to one in three people.
The workshop, which ends on Thursday, has brought together experts from host Namibia, the United States of America, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and South Africa.