Residents in Mayuge district have said that the high poverty levels in the area have hindered their efforts to maintain proper sanitation leading to frequent diseases. Amina Nakyenda told URN that being a widow, she cannot afford basic sanitation practices such as brushing teeth thrice a day.
The residents on Saturday spoke to Uganda Radio Network in Wandago village in Magamaga town council in Mayuge District ahead of Kyabazinga Wilberforce Nadiope Gabula IV visit.
The Kyabazinga was in the area to launch community led program known as 'Bulungi Bwansi' also known as 'Clean Busoga Campaign Initiative' with the aim of encouraging subjects to participate in activities that will keep their communities clean.
Amina Nakyenda told URN that being a widow, she cannot afford basic sanitation practices such as brushing teeth thrice a day.
"I cannot even afford money for scholastic materials, how do I buy toothbrushes and paste for the children. We have one meal a day because we don't have food, we just buy, but we don't have that money," she says.
Isaac Kosan Dibeyo, the Local Council one chairperson for Wandago village told URN that many of the residents in his village cannot afford basic hygiene practices.
"People are poor, they cannot afford money to buy soap to wash clothes, and you tell them to use it to just wash hands? We are poor and cannot afford some of these things although we know that some diseases such as diarrhoea can be prevented if we implemented such practices," he said.
Dibeyo urges the district health officers to intensify health sensitisation campaigns among the public about the need for proper health.
Magamaga town council Clerk Ductoor Namuwaya says that this campaign will be launched by the Kyabazinga but the town council administration will lead the implementation. She notes that they have mobilised leaders from the village level to ensure that every household has a pit latrine, rubbish pit and hand washing equipment.
"We are ready to train those who do not know how to erect some of these facilities, patients are filling hospitals with diseases that can be prevented with proper health practices," she said.
Amon Kiteere, programmes manager with Water for All, a non-governmental organisation working in Busoga region, notes that a household requires an average of 1,000 shillings per month to buy soap specifically for hand-washing.
"Households can actually use ash instead of soap because it has also been proven to be effective in killing germs," he said.
The Busoga Kingdom spokesperson, Andrew Ntange, says that the Kyabazinga led programme will be rotating in all the chiefdoms of the kingdom. He notes that the campaign is aimed at reducing the preventable diseases through promoting good health practices.
As a way of ensuring the continuity of the campaign, Ntange says that the kingdom has partnered with the Ministry of Health officials to train different kingdom officials who will also train people in their different villages.
According to the 2016 World Bank Poverty Assessment Report, Uganda has reduced monetary poverty with the proportion of the population living below the national poverty line declining from 31.1% in 2006 to 19.7% in 2013.
The country is rated as one of the fastest in Sub-Saharan Africa to reduce the share of its population living on less than dollars per day from 53.2% in 2006 to 34.6% in 2013.
The report however notes that the country is lagging behind in several important non-monetary areas, notably improved sanitation, access to electricity, completion and progression in education, and child malnutrition.
Progress in reducing poverty, according to the report, has been much slower in Northern and Eastern Uganda, making the concentration of poverty in these regions higher. The proportion of the total number of poor people who live in the Northern and Eastern regions increased between 2006 and 2013, from 68% to 84%, according to the report. Households in the two regions have much lower levels of human capital, fewer assets, and more limited access to services and infrastructure than households in the Central region.