The Impact of Sanitary Toilets on Health
According to the recent UNICEF and World Health Organisation (WHO) data, only 11% & 5% and about half the population & less than 1/3rd of people in Sierra Leone and rural areas have access to adequate sanitation facilities and safe drinking water respectively thus explaining Sierra Leone’s inevitable position as the nation with the world’s worst mortality rate for children under the age of five.
It is understood from interviewing 2000 families in Sierra Leone that 98% of population in Sierra Leone don’t have access to public toilets and most of the children and young people defecate in open area, thus leading the residents and the children of the locality tothe poor living standards and vulnerable to contagious diseases such as cholera, malaria, tuberculosis etc respectively.
In view of the above, WCCenvisages to construct modern sanitation facilities to prevent and mitigate contagious diseases affecting the locality by educating the people of Sierra Leone about the importance of using toilets instead of open defecation, further more care takers will be employed to help maintain these facilities.
About half the population & less than 1/3rd of people in Sierra Leone and rural areas have access to safe drinking water and the young people have to walk 3 to 4 miles every day just to fetch water needed for their households.The water collected from the streams are contaminated with human faeces and are not safe for human consumption.
WCC aims to construct an additional five (5) water wells in the community (Eastern), adding to the one thus totalling to six (6) water wells, to counter the poor water situation in the community. The water well construction work is currently undertaken by a developing agency (indiegroup) in Sierra Leone. Community self-help and fundraising have also contributed in meeting part of the costs in promoting effectiveness of service.
Sustainable access to safe drinking water
Unsafe water, lack of basic sanitation and adequate hygiene are the reasons of mortality of children under five (5) years of age. Diseases like diarrhea, pneumonia and under nutrition have implications for whether children, especially girls attend school.This means that achieving Millennium Development Goal 7 and its 2015 targets of reducing half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation are of vital relevance for children and for improving nutrition, education and women’s status. In this regard, WCC aims to construct five (5) water wells in the community adding to the one (1) already donated as an approach to counter the poor access to water.This project helps Sierra Leone to become a vibrant and self-sufficient community that is less reliant on external aid in the long term and also helps the citizens to overcome the post war trauma. The basic health and sanitation training that WCC offer aids in reducing child mortality rate and also boosts the overall child development.
WASH & Sierra Leone
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are critical interventions to improve the health of the population of Sierra Leone. Evidence suggests that improved water sources reduce diarrhea morbidity by 21%, improved sanitation reduces diarrhea morbidity by 37.5% and the simple act of washing hands at critical times can reduce the number of diarrhea cases by as much as 35%. Improvement of drinking-water quality, such as point-of-use disinfection, would lead to a 45% reduction of diarrhea episodes (CDC).
Access to WASH also affects whether girls attend school because girls are more likely to be responsible for collecting water for the family, and lack of sanitation in schools especially for menstruating girl’s means they are less likely to attend and remain in school.
Worldwide, millions of people are infected with neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), many of which are water and/or hygiene-related, such as Guinea Worm Disease, Buruli Ulcer, Trachoma, and Schistosomiasis. These diseases are most often found in places with unsafe drinking water, poor sanitation, and insufficient hygiene practices. Access to sanitation is limited in Sierra Leone 8% of rural and 24% of urban population have access to safely managed sanitation. The most recent data from the Demographic and Household Survey (DHS 2013) shows 66% of urban population use latrines and 7% defecate inopen. In rural areas only 36% use latrines, with 26% practicing open defecation (amounting to more than 1 million people).
The 2015 Census data tabulated below depicts the accessibility of the people of Sierra Leone to safely managed drinking water and sanitation facilities (JMP 2017):
|Service level||Urban (2015%)||Rural (2015%)|
|Sanitation – open defecation||6.3||27.1|
|Sanitation – basic level||23.8||8.4|
|Drinking water – surface water||4.4||24|
|Drinking water – basic level||74.6||47.1|
The type of facilities available and accessed throughout the country vary depending on location and whether these might be broken down or functional and in use. Water points throughout Sierra Leone include public tap/standpipe, tube well or borehole and protected dug wells (Wash data accessed 2018). Facilities for sanitation are poor, with 20% of urban and 8.3% of rural having access to latrines, other forms of sanitation (septic tank and sewer) are not available (3.6% urban access septic tank).
Project Outline – Direct Outputs
• Construct five water wells containing water pump, entrance door, cement maintaining well and workers, locally sourced sand etc.
• Provide clean water for 15,459 population to disadvantage orphans and homeless children aged 3-14 years old and their families
• Equip the water project with resources such entrance door, security padlocks, maintenance office, cleaning equipments
• Identifying needs to expand this programme beyond Sierra Leone as further research has shown a constant growing needs and meeting the needs at the ground level.
Long-Term Beneficial Outcomes
The project aims to promote children development which is essential for the future of a healthy and sustainable local community. It seeks to re-build the decimated civil society of Sierra Leone, by working with international and local NGO partners to:
1. Offer hope for a brighter future and a sense of purpose for the abandoned and forgotten children of Sierra Leone
2. Transform health and sanitation standards in Sierra Leone by encouraging social mobilisation and raising awareness about disease prevention. The goal is to reduce mortality rates through health education, supporting national health priorities, increasing immunization and preventing HIV/AIDS and other diseases
3. Use the power of clean water to help children and parents to enhance healthy child development, safe drinking water and strengthen community partnerships. The water Programme adds value to the overall development by offering an alternative approach to strengthen the community.
Soap, Toilets and Taps
Towards Effective Programming for WASH in Schools