Only 25 percent of all homes in Kitgum district have pit latrines. District leaders say this is a shame and they have launched an operation to arrest and charge in court every homestead that does not have a pit latrine.
John Komakech Ogwok, the LC5 chairperson of Kitgum, says the poor water and sanitation situation in the district is the cause of the recurrence of disease in the district. Two years ago, Kitgum battled with a widespread outbreak of cholera because of unhygienic living conditions and contamination of water sources. Last year a Hepatitis E epidemic hit the district, killing 148 people and infected thousands more.
According to weekly statistics on the Hepatitis E outbreak, 74 new cases of the disease were reported in the past fortnight and four people were killed.
Ogwok says the operation to nab people without toilets will start with the local leaders. He says that instead of asking them to pay the legal fine of 400 shillings, they will be charged in court to subject them to public embarrassment and to force them to change.
//Cue in: iOur first target #i
Cue out: i# suffer embarrassment.i//
The shortage of toilets is particularly acute among communities who are returning from more than two decades of living in camps for the internally displaced. Most of the former IDPs claim that they do not have timber to build the toilets or cement and clay to concretize the latrine floors and so they have no alternative but to use the bushes around their homes for sanitary purposes.
Joseph Lamony an outreach supervisor at Layamo Health Center II in Kitgum says the lack of toilets is a symptom of dependency on handouts among former IDPs. He explains that the IDPs became complacent about their own welfare because they were given everything they needed to survive in the camps.
Lamony says this attitude has been carried on into people's homes.
//Cue in: iPeople #i
Cue out: i# as well.i//