23 January 2013

Tanzania: Three Dodoma Districts Get Improved Hygiene

RESIDENTS of Bahi, Chamwino and Kongwa districts in Dodoma region have started enjoying improved hygiene, thanks to a project funded by global sanitation fund.

The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare Assistant Director in the department of Environmental Health, Hygiene and Sanitation, Dr Elias Chinamo, said in Dar es Salaam that the three districts were previously in poor sanitation due to unsafe water supply.

The Usafi wa Mazingira Tanzania - Sanitation and Hygiene in Tanzania (UMATA) programme is implementing the project in that area. "The UMATA programme takes into account the existing challenges, gaps, national priorities and strategies that are in process, planning, or are being implemented," he explained. Mr Chinamo said that the five-year UMATA programme had a budget of 4.9 million US dollars.

In the first year, the implementation of activities was planned to cost 842,000 dollars. He said that the realization of the programme would be achieved through strengthening national knowledge, skills and systems to support further scaling up of sanitation and hygiene.

"We also plan to have district level implementation at scale in three districts of Dodoma region by providing a 'magnifying glass' for learning on the process of taking to scale specific sanitation and hygiene interventions to be scaled up to other upcountry regions," he said.

Mr Chinamo revealed that as per requirement, the Executive Agency (Plan International) had already been selected through a competitive tender process and it will be the manager of the programme.

He cited that the programme intended to have a number of outcomes including increased knowledge and experience on current sector knowledge gap areas, a strengthened national monitoring and evaluation system and a pool of national facilitators rolling our sanitation and hygiene at scale across the country.

Other outcomes include sensitised people and institutions in the three programme districts and nationwide on sanitation and hygiene importance as well as the sanitation technological options available and key sanitation actors on the ignition process. Tanzania has adopted the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on sanitation target of halving the number of people without improved sanitation by 2015.

Additionally, under the Vision 2025, Tanzania has pledged to provide improved sanitation to 95 per cent of the population by 2025. However, a number of studies raise concern that the realization of MDGs will be most unlikely. Baseline statistics proposed for the MKUKUTA II indicate that only 23 per cent of the rural population have access to improved sanitation facilities and less than 25 per cent of the total population (urban and rural) is estimated to have a designated place for hand-washing with soap.

In schools the ratio of pupils per improved school latrine varies from less than 20 to more than 200 per latrine drop hole or no latrines at all. A recent school WASH mapping exercise in 16 districts indicates only 2 per cent of schools with hand washing facilities have soap and only 8 per cent have functional hand-washing facilities with water.

The GSF-funded UMATA programme comes at an opportune moment when the situation is now changing in favour of S&H improvement. For instance - four ministries have signed a MoU for the co-ordination of sanitation and hygiene, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has developed the Draft National Sanitation and the Hygiene Policy and the National Environmental Health, Hygiene and Sanitation Strategy.

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