Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Honorable Ummy Mwalimu (MP) speaks during the launches of sanitation campaign in Dodoma.[/caption]
TANZANIA needs to end open defecation and have all people using improved toilets, to reflect the status of a middle-income country.
The Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Honorable Ummy Mwalimu (MP) and stakeholders conveyed this in Dodoma during a Call to Action event. The minister called for the national sanitation campaign, “To carry out a much bigger campaign far beyond the dimensions of the Mtu ni Afya.”
The National Sanitation Campaign launched in 2012 is ramping up its efforts to accelerate household sanitation improvements. The use of poor quality toilets and the practice of open defecation is a leading cause of illness and death from cholera, diarrheal diseases, and costs the country 1% of its GDP each year. Poor sanitation is also a major contributor to stunted growth of about 2.7 million children in Tanzania. Children who are more likely than their peers to struggle in school and earn less as adults.
The campaign is setting out new activities ranging from promoting improved toilets, hand washing with soap, water treatment at point of use, sanitation in schools and health care facilities to the provision of adequate toilets on highways and bus stops.
“I would request each one of you to join the government efforts of ensuring access to improved sanitation and hygiene,” said the Minister,to the assembled government staff, development partners, the private sector and public.
Over the past 25 years, open defecation has remained a problem. For instance, in 1990 the report shows that 10% of rural population had no toilets, 13% in 2000, 16% in 2011 and 13% in 2016. And over 55% of Tanzanians use unimproved toilets that are as damaging to health and the economy.
A World Bank assessment indicates that Tanzania is losing 1 percent of its GDP due to poor sanitation and hygiene. This is too high for a country like Tanzania that is aspiring for a mid-income economy by 2025. Moreover, UNICEF estimates a loss of 1.7 million children each year due globally to diarrhea and pneumonia which can both be prevented by a simple act of hand washing with soap and use of improved toilets.
As a step toward addressing the financing gap, the government has started allocating local funds into sanitation as exemplified by the 2017/18 budget for Ministry responsible for Regional Administration and Local governments. To facilitate the country achieve the access to improved Sanitation and Hygiene, the minister has called upon all the stakeholders to join the government efforts of ensuring access to improved sanitation becomes a reality.