Clean and safe water, sanitation and hygiene.
In Uganda today only less than 65% of the population has access to clean and safe water. In addition to this almost two thirds of the population, which is about 22 or so million people, do not have access to affordable, adequate and sustainable sanitation and good hygiene.
This situation or condition is more acute and prevalent in rural communities, (including rural West Nile sub-region of north western Uganda), where up to 80% of the country’s population lives on agricultural rural settlements.
It is common knowledge that water related illnesses curtail or minimize the ability and effectiveness of family members to work and earn a meaningful living, which in itself, increases and worsens the threat of poverty, particularly in highly vulnerable communities most of whom live and work in rural areas of the country.
According to national health reports, water related diseases such as hepatitis, typhoid and cholera caused between 8% and 9% of al deaths in Uganda in 2002. In excess 12,000 children die in the country from diarrhoea, which is as a result of use of unclean and therefore unsafe water, poor sanitation environments and inadequate hygiene services.
Up to 17% of annual deaths of children under the age of five years are directly related to water diarrhoeal diseases, yet such are preventable, treatable and curable diseases.
However, recent reports suggest that bad hygiene and a lack of adequate sanitation facilities, in northern Uganda, a region still recovering from more than two decades of conflict and terrorism have fuelled the spread of hepatitis E viral infections, in several districts, including Yumbe District, which is one of the poorest districts in the West Nile sub-region of north western Uganda.
Highly improved access to clean and safe water, adequate sanitation, good and efficient healthcare facilities and services, an effective public transportation systems, an established infrastructure of well paved highways and well constructed railways and water ways, affordable and sustainable sources of renewable electricity, such as solar and wind power are essential and vital for Uganda’s continued future development and progress, especially it’s massive, under employed, under served and economically fragile rural communities, including the West Nile sub-region of north western Uganda.