Maracha — Locals in Maracha District have started spying on each other's homesteads to promote hygiene and sanitation.
The residents said the spying on each other's homes has resulted in tremendous improvement in sanitation and hygiene which has saved many people from contracting water borne diseases such as cholera, dysentery and typhoid.
Speaking to Daily Monitor at the weekend, Mr Denis Onziwa, a resident of Ongoro Village, Ombaci Parish in Oluvu Sub-county, said the idea of neighbourhood surveillance was mooted in 2014 when there was an ebola outbreak in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo which borders Oluvu in Maracha.
"We do spy in a way that when a family does not have a pit-latrine or waste disposal bins, or do not clean their surroundings, we report them to the Local Council authorities. The authorities then compel the family to act. This has helped us in ensuring hygiene," he said.
He said they agreed as a community to devise ways of enforcing sanitation measures because there was open defecation as most homesteads had no pit-latrines.
"We introduced Milango Kumi (10 households) grouping system to monitor each other and residents acted as spies to report anybody who did not have a latrine," Mr Onziwa said
Oluvu Sub-county has 62 villages and six parishes. The Oluvu Local Council 3 chairman, Mr Simon Atiku, said since the Milango Kumi was introduced, there has been improvement in latrine coverage, hand-washing and access to safe water through the support of SNV, an NGO that has been implementing the Wash Project in the area.
Oluvu Primary School hosted the national celebrations for sanitation under the theme "Good Sanitation My Responsibility" last Friday.
Mr Atiku said Oluvu Primary School was selected for the celebrations because it emerged the cleanest school with the best sanitation during the School Sanitation Competition for Maracha District. Galia Primary School in the sub-county won the race for best behavioural change and Narakua Primary School was the best in hand washing. Each school was awarded a water harvesting tank.
The Chief Administrative Officer, Mr Joseph Lomongin, said Maracha has currently improved in sanitation compared to previous years.
The Minister of State for Primary Health Care, Dr Joyce Moriku Kaducu, warned residents who live in slums against disposing of their excreta on streets and water channels because it exposes them to hygiene-related infections.
"In Kampala city, we still have people who defecate in black polythene bags at night, then dump it on streets and water drainage channels. This is what caused an outbreak of cholera in the city recently," the minister said.
The Chief Administrative Officer, Mr Joseph Lomongin, said the district has a population of 181,000 people and latrine coverage stands at 91 per cent, up from 80 per cent in 2014 and hand washing is at 65 per cent, up from 29 per cent in 2014.
He said water coverage is at 80 per cent and there are 256 boreholes in the district and 70 protected spring wells. In the current financial year, he said, the district received Shs280m which was used to drill eight boreholes.