Mohammed Hussein also known as Husni as commonly referred to by his peers, enjoys being surrounded by garbage-free clean neighbourhoods.
The final year journalism student at Technical University of Mombasa often mobilises family, friends, and neighbours for a worthy cause, cleaning the streets.
His efforts have won him accolades, including recognition as a health champion by the Muslim Media company based in Mombasa.
Over 70 people, mostly youth on Tuesday answered his call when they met and cleared an illegal dumpsite in the midst of Mombasa Majengo residential area.
The undeveloped area had turned into a dangerous zone where children risked contracting diseases including cholera, wounds from cuts by broken glasses to HIV and AIDS from pricks by infected needles in the illegal dumpsite.
“The crowded street of Majengo forced children play at this site but now it has turned into a potential health hazard thus the need to clean it,” said Husni.
“I find am at ease when surrounded by clean surroundings given that health is not at risk especially for children who curiously risk a lot during playtime risking their lives.”
Summaiya Omar ,a volunteer in the clean-up team confessed her love for clean surroundings free from cholera outbreaks. She notes that diseases resulting from poor sanitation weigh heavily on people’s pockets when seeking treatment and sometimes lead to loss of lives especially among children.
She says a clean environment is an individual’s choice, which will inspire another person thus qualifying to be a leader.
As a youth, she willingly answered to the clean up call from a fellow youth who has a vision for a healthy globe hence their reason for engaging in this exercise.
Twaha Farouk, a youth from the Majengo neighbourhood in Mvita said when people come together for a worthy cause, it is worthwhile than lying idle in houses or streets which brings the temptation of engaging in drug taking or crime.
He said he believes in the Swahili saying “ kidole kimoja hakivunji chawa “: meaning coming together as a group has far reaching implications better than individual effort thus joining his many friends and neighbours to clean up the area.
Majengo village elder Mustafa Salim Johari, a representative of the government administration units at the grass roots, welcomed the youth’s noble idea.
Under the umbrella community based organisation Global Health Projects headed by Mohammed, the elder encouraged such initiatives, adding they are good models and added they pose a challenge to other youth to engage in meaningful activities as opposed to idling.
Johari said the illegal dumpsite had been an abandoned structure where drug cartels had begun peddling drugs to the area posing a security threat and endangering the youth and children who are targeted by the drug dealers.
The administrator through help of the Global Health Projects CBO demolished the structure and cleaned up the area further freeing it from all sorts of threats posed earlier.
Elder Johari sent a warning to locals who will be found dumping at the area of dire consequences including arrests and fines since he works with authorities to enforce the directive prohibiting illegal dumping in residential and undesignated areas.
Dr. Salma Naji, a medical officer and the secretary general Kenya Association of Muslim Medical Professionals coast region, who was part of the clean-up attributed illegal dumping in residential areas as the major cause of diseases common with children.
“Contracting HIV and AIDS and Hepatitis B are some of the common health implications that befall unsuspecting children who play at dumpsites when they come into contact with infected needles,” Dr. Naji said.
Most drug users share needles and account for a high percentage of HIV cases in Mombasa, saying since the area had earlier been a hideout for the drug users, it poses a major threat to unsuspecting children who play at the open area hence risking their lives to attacks by diseases.
The Doctor said gastroenteritis is the most common disease among children who contact dirt from dirty places and accounts for 80 percent of children diarrhea cases.
She said the disease is curable when detected early before it gets to severe stage that is expensive to treat as well as life threatening.
She advised cleaning up of residential areas as the best preventive measure against the effects of contracting diseases which is a costly exercise and life threatening especially in children.
By Joseph Kamolo