By Francis Ndanema in Moyamba
Twelve communities in the Moyamba District have been declared open defecation free (ODF) by the Health Superintendent of the Moyamba Environmental Health Unit.
The communities attained ODF status after thoroughly cleaning their environs and succeeded in constructing toilets with local materials to ensure no resident defecates in the open. After cleaning their towns and constructing local toilets, the communities vowed never to defecate in the bushes, streams or in the open.
District coordinator of Cord Sierra Leone in Moyamba, Brima Musa, said they encouraged the community people to construct their own toilets themselves and avoid defecating very close to their homes to guard themselves against diseases.
“We started our sensitization right from there. We told the people that they have fowls and other livestock who can easily contract diseases by feeding on human excreta and thus transmitting these diseases to people in the towns,” explained Mr. Musa.
He said they further admonished the community people to desist from defecating in the streams as the communities use the water for their domestic work, including cooking and laundering.
“After these sensitisation campaigns, the people agreed to build toilets using local materials. We told them that we can only help in providing them the knowledge they need to construct the toilets, whose cost will be entirely taken care of by them (communities),” explained the Cord Sierra Leone district coordinator. “Though some people found it difficult to believe us, they all later cooperated. Today, their communities have been declared open defecation free.”
Declaring the 12 communities open defecation free, the District Health Superintendent of the Moyamba Environmental Health Unit, Joseph Bundu, informed the people that though they have attained ODF status, they would slide back to their unhygienic condition if they fail to keep their toilets and towns clean.