Sanitation challenge for Namibia

Namibia remains one of the countries with the highest rate of open defecation in the world.

23 June 2020 | Health

ELLANIE SMIT

WINDHOEK



The fact that Namibia is rated among the countries with the highest rate of open defecation in the world must urgently change for the better.

This was said by water and agriculture minister Calle Schlettwein during his budget motivation.

Schlettwein highlighted the fact that sanitation in Namibia is lagging behind when compared to other sub-Saharan countries.

He said access to improved sanitation facilities in Namibia at national level, and in rural and urban areas stand at 46%, 17% and 70% respectively.

This is according to statistics from the Demographic Survey of 2016.

“We have the 10th highest rate of open defecation globally among 192 countries. We strongly believe that this is an image that every Namibian desires to see urgently changing for the better.”

He said the ministry would build 250 sanitation facilities in rural areas this financial year. N$4 million has been allocated for this programme.

According to the ministry's Technical Paper submitted in support of the budget motivation, one of the achievements for this financial year has been that 74 villages have been sensitised.

These villages have 3 329 households with a total population of 21 122. A total of 885 pit latrines were built, while 13 villages and four schools have been declared as open defecation free (ODF).

Other planned activities for this year is the development of the Water Supply and Sanitation Information System (WSSIS) and the finalisation of the review of the five-year National Sanitation Strategy.

The 2018 the State of Hygiene in Southern Africa report reported that only 15% of rural Namibians have access to a basic latrine, while 3% have limited access to toilets (shared) and 7% live in unimproved hygienic conditions.

The report said 75% of residents still practice open defecation.

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