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Chemakeu Sub location declared Open Defecation Free

The West Pokot County Department of Public Health in conjunction with non-government organizations (NGOs) has officially declared the Chemakeu sub-location in Kongelai division to be an open defecation-free (ODF) region.

The Chemakeu sub-location has been certified for its adherence to hygiene and sanitation practices, thus becoming the most recent village in the county to attain Open Defecation Free (ODF) status.

Public health officials have confirmed that the sub-location has placed great emphasis on eliminating open defecation by ensuring that each household is equipped with a pit latrine.

Public health officials praised the residents of the Chemakeu sub-location for their efforts to make their entire area ODF.

The officials additionally stated that they provided training to members of the community regarding the significance of possessing a pit latrine within their households in an effort to mitigate waterborne diseases through the utilization of latrines.

The health officials expressed their satisfaction with the community’s adherence to their call to stop open defecation.

During the commemoration of Global Handwashing Day at Koitukum shopping centre in Chemakeu Sub-location, Benson Ruto, the Director of Public Health in West Pokot County, expressed his appreciation for the residents for their commitment to WASH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) compliance, despite facing the challenge of limited access to water in their households.

Global Handwashing is celebrated every year on October 15 and the theme for this year Day was ‘‘Clean Hands are Within reach’’

Mr. Ruto stated that a significant proportion of the population residing in rural areas of West Pokot County continues to engage in the practice of open defecation.

He stated that individuals who continue to engage in open defecation are responsible for environmental pollution and the transmission of diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and diarrheaoea, among others, both to themselves and their communities.

”The incidence of diarrheaoea has decreased in the Chemakeu sub-location due to the cessation of open defecation and the adoption of latrines usage,” Mr. Ruto said.

Mr. Ruto said that a signpost has been erected at the roadside leading to the Chemakeu sub-location, declaring the area Open Defecation Free (ODF) and prohibiting any individual from engaging in open defecation.

He encourages the residents to consistently utilize a pit latrine and to also cleanse their hands prior to consuming food in order to prevent the contraction of waterborne and other illnesses.

Member of County Assembly for Batei ward (MCA) Yusuf Long’iro, the chairperson for Health and Sanitation at the West Pokot County Assembly, expressed gratitude to the residents for their efforts in tackling the adverse consequences of inadequate sanitation, and he commended their utilization of latrines and adoption of proper hygiene practices within their households, which have contributed to a positive transformation in social behaviour in their area.

MCA Long’iro observed that the West Pokot County government, under the guidance of Governor Simon Kachapin, is dedicated to enhancing the availability of healthcare, sanitation, and hygiene practices in rural areas throughout the county.

He commended the work of the local administrators, including the area chief, and diverse partners, acknowledging that their efforts have effectively educated the community on the significance of utilizing latrines and have also positively influenced their livelihoods.

MCA Long’iro presented certificates of appreciation to individuals who dedicated their time advocate against Open Defecation.He encouraged them to continue positively impacting the lives of others.

Gilbert Kibet, a resident of the Chemakeu sublocation, reported that his family has been frequently afflicted with cholera and typhoid diseases. However, since the construction of a latrine and its regular use, there have been no further occurrences of such diseases.

He expressed gratitude to the county public health department, as well as their partners, for providing them with valuable insights regarding the significance of utilizing latrines and the necessity of safely disposing of human waste.

Another resident, Agneta Domokira, expressed that the presence of latrines in their homes has provided them with a sense of safety and dignity, in contrast to the previous practice of using bushes for sanitation purposes.

Global Handwashing Day highlights the significance of maintaining clean hands as a means to preserve lives and advocates for the widespread adoption in effort aimed at enhancing public health.

During the commemoration, attendees are encouraged to adopt handwashing with soap as a simple yet effective approach to impede the transmission of pathogens and reduce the risk of diseases such diarrhoea, respiratory infections, and cholera.

By Anthony Melly

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