Nakuru County will spend Sh15 million to construct toilets along the Nakuru-Nairobi highway in a bid to curb open defecation along the busy highway.
According to Nakuru Public Health Officer Samuel King’ori, they are in a process of acquiring land for construction of the sanitation facilities.
“The only challenge we are facing now is acquisition of land for that purpose but we are hopeful that with the completion of dual carriageway, we’ll be able to set up the toilets,” said Mr King’ori.
According to Mr King’ori, this is one of the measures they are taking to eradicate open defecation mainly along the highways by travellers.
Nakuru launched the Open Defecation Free (ODF) campaign in 2017 whose main focus is the rural areas.
So far 328 villages have been declared and certified as Open Defecation Free (ODF) area since the launch of the campaign targeting all rural sub-counties.
The Public Health Department in collaboration with other partners have been funding the project with a midterm target of achieving ODF by 2020.
According to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) county coordinator Margaret Kuibita, highway open defecation is still a major challenge.
“As much as we want to build toilets and other sanitation facilities, the county government does not own any parcel of land along the highway,” she said.
The project is estimated to cost Sh167 million for all the 2,052 villages to achieve ODF by 2020 in a funding from the County government and other partners.
Some of the partners working on the project include Amref, World Bank, Afya Uzazi among others.
According to Ms Kuibita, there are various types of open defecation, some direct others indirect.
Some of the structures constructed in homesteads are also classified as contributors to open defecation.
“You could be having a toilet but it exposes human waste or it discharges it to the open drainage, this is as good as open defecation,” she said.
She noted that there are also households that have toilets but they choose not to use the structure but instead relieve themselves in the bush.
“Through the plan we came up with, we want to promote use of toilets at all levels through an all-inclusive strategy,” said Ms Kuibita.
'Open Defecation Free'
For a village to be declared Open Defecation Free, it has to meet some requirements.
I should be using a toilet, have a handwashing facility as well as have a proper waste management system for the homestead.
“Once a village claims to be ODF, an external certifier who assess every homestead. The government then brings in certifiers who awards the village,” she added.
The village is then allowed to put up a billboard which shows that the village has been declared ODF.
The billboard is used to inform all people including those visiting the village for the first time to be aware of the new status.
Some of the sub-counties that are already leading in achieving of ODF status include Naivasha, Rongai, Gilgil, Subukia and Kuresoi North.
“Most of the certified villages are those that have partners willing to work closely with the government and hence the success,” she added.