The Minister of Water and Environment Prof. Ephraim Kamuntu has expressed concern over Ugandans reluctancy to follow good hygiene procedure noting that about 70% of them not being in position to wash their hands after visiting the toilets.
Kamuntu who was also the guest of honour made the remarks while presiding over a Scientific Technical Council (STC) Workshop organised by National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) on Monday at the Corporation’s International Resource Center based in Bugoloobi-Kampala.
Addressing over 200 delegates from over 30 African countries under their umbrella organisation African Water Association (AfWA), Kamuntu noted that, “Although the increase in population and urbanisation is putting pressure on the Corporation’s service delivery,Ugandans are not so keen on water usage take an incidence where only 70% of them wash their hands after visiting the toilet. This means that approximately 29% of them wash their hands after the toilet.”
Organised under the theme,“Solutions for accelerating Water and Sanitation Access in Africa”,the five day conference that kicked off on July-21st-25th-2014,according to Sylvain Usher, the Secretary General AfWA, is meant to act as a platform to engage with other global stakeholders and discuss mechanisms on how water and sanitation on the African continent can be enhanced thus bringing water closer to people.
Usher explained that Africa’s greatest challenge in ensuring that more of its people get closer to power is not an issue of infrastructure and lack of financing alone, but rather lack of capacity by African Utility agencies to extend water to its people.
He said that, “Despite the fact that African has a total of over 500,000bn of renewable water sources, only about 4% of these are being utilized, so its not an issue of absence of water, but rather shortage of and knowledge and capacity on how to utilize the available water sources and bring water closer to its population.”
Silva Mugisha, the Executive Director, NWSC noted that this conference is timely at the moment when the entity is working towards improving Uganda’s water coverage by 100% in 2018. “NWSC is obligated to ensure that Ugandans get good quality water in good quantities. Right now, our role is to ensure that we supply water in a financially and viable manner to all Ugandans.”
Additional reporting by Prisca Wanyenya