Bulla and Iftin villages in Garissa Township have attained the status of being Open Defecation Free (ODF), an important water and sanitation milestone in the county.
Open Defecation Free status is usually achieved when a community, through behavioral change, chooses to live in clean, healthy environments and all households and key public spaces construct latrines and sanitation facilities for themselves.
Following this achievement, County Public Health team led by the Director of Preventive and Promotive Services Mohamed Salat, Garissa Sub-County Health Director Dr. Mohamed Ahmed and Unicef’s Jacob Kipkeny joined residents in celebrations.
In a speech read by Mr. Salat during the occasion, County Health Chief Officer Hassan Anshur noted that the devolved unit had made significant progress across the seven sub-counties where 409 villages had been declared ODF through the support of Unicef.
He added that Garissa Township and Ijara sub-counties were set to be declared Open Defecation Free next month following a successful Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach adopted by the county public health teams.
“In order to achieve the goal of 100 per cent ODF status in the whole county by June 2023, the County Government will be making a financial commitment in support of CLTS concept implementation,” Anshur said.
On his part, Salat commended residents of the two villages saying the impact of the behavioral change will mostly be felt among children under five years who are the main victims of diseases resulting from poor sanitation.
Speaking during the event, Unicef’s Jacob Kipkeny said Garissa was on course to become the first county in Northern Kenya to be declared ODF.
Kipkeny assured Unicef’s commitment to building more collaborations with the County Government to improve sanitation in the region.
By Erick Kyalo