Open defecation is unacceptable: Mutorwa

01 Apr 2014 15:40pm
WINDHOEK, 01 APR (NAMPA) – Agriculture, Water and Forestry Minister John Mutorwa says it is unacceptable that Namibians are forced to relieve themselves out in the open.
Speaking during the official opening of a three-day southern African regional workshop on Community-led Total Sanitation (CLTS) here on Tuesday, he said the use of the bush and open defecation negatively affects Namibian people and the country's environment.
According to Mutorwa, available statistics have indicated that sanitation coverage in Namibia “is not good at all”.
He thus called on all Namibians to find quicker and appropriate solutions to reverse the backlog of poor sanitation services’ provision.
Health is an asset for individual human beings and communities generally, and its improvement enhances and ensures economic development.
“Access to improved water supplies and improving sanitation facilities does not, on its own, necessarily or automatically lead to improved health.
Therefore, the right approaches need to be used to change human behaviour, and to positively encourage people to take better care of ourselves, our families health and our environment,” he noted.
According to Mutorwa, a National Sanitation Strategy was developed in 2009, and then adopted and approved to practically implement the Water Supply and Sanitation policy of 2008.
It aims to reach at least 66 per cent of the Namibian population by 2015, hoping to provide them with a healthy environment and improved quality of life.
The strategy envisages halving the proportion of people without adequate sustainable access to improved sanitation to reach coverage of 57 per cent rural communities, and 80 per cent of urban, informal settlements.
Mutorwa noted that the community-led approach is one of the sanitation implementation instruments underscored in the strategy, and said he trusts that stakeholders will be able to double their efforts and reach their target goals.
CLTS is already being implemented on a pilot basis in some rural areas such as in Ohangwena, Kavango West and East, Kunene and the Zambezi region.
Mutorwa’s ministry, with the support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), is also busy finalising a communication strategy for the elimination of open defecation in Namibia.
“Our goal must be and should remain a healthy planet with healthy people who are able to make healthy and safe choices, now and for the future.
Let us, therefore, stand together and commit ourselves as Namibians and say loud and clear ‘no to open defecation’,” he stated.
The workshop is aimed at building consensus amongst experts to scale-up sanitation coverage and promote sustainable hygienic behavioural change in the southern Africa region.