by Roxane Bayer
THE City of Windhoek handed over 25 toilets – three in the Sonderwater area of Katutura and another 22 in the Khomasdal constituency.
Windhoek mayor Fransina Kahungu handed over the toilets in Katutura on Friday.
“The importance of providing secured, sufficient and sustainable sanitation for many of those living in towns and cities cannot be overemphasised,” said Kahungu.
According to Kahungu, Namibia developed a national strategy in 2009 to provide sustainable sanitation services for households in the country.
However, 14% of citizens living in urban areas practise open defecation, while 77% of people living in rural areas do the same.
“It has become evident that the lack of basic needs is particularly acute in the urban context, where high population density makes a lack of adequate sanitation particularly unpleasant, unhealthy and unsafe,” added Kahungu.
Open defecation can be detrimental to public health, further spreading diseases such as hepatitis E, with the Samora Machel and Moses Garoëb constituencies being most affected. Hepatitis E is mainly transmitted through drinking contaminated water.
The mayor stressed the need for concerted efforts “to ensure adequate provision of sanitation facilities and access to potable water”.
She added that the construction of ablution facilities and proper sewerage systems have been one of the many challenges for both regional and local authorities, therefore, providing people with safe and reliable water and sanitation services remains a priority for the municipality.
With the outbreak of the respiratory illness, Covid-19, sanitation becomes even more important, said Kahungu.
“We cannot afford to lose precious and productive lives due to preventable illnesses. Let me, therefore, implore all of you to do your bit, in terms of keeping our environment clean, to ensure a healthy living environment,” said Kahungu.
She encouraged beneficiaries to take care of the new ablution facilities, as they do not belong to the municipality, but rather to the people themselves.
“I am making this call because these facilities ultimately will improve your health and enhance the quality of your life. I, therefore, challenge you to guard against vandalism and unhygienic conditions,” said Kahungu.
Councillor Ananias Niizimba, on behalf of Khomas Regional Council chairperson Rachel Jacobs, added that Namibians cannot allow diseases to spread and kill people and that one way of curbing the spread is to improve sanitation.
“Solid waste is a major environmental issue in informal settlements,” said Niizimba, adding that open defecation is a threat to human health.
The toilets donated on Friday are only part of phase 1. Phase two should see 40 more toilets for communities once it reaches completion.