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Kasese Residents Abandon Hand Washing As Ebola Mass Messages Phase Out

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Nelson Baluku, a Boda boda rider along Alexander Street of Kasese municipality, says whereas he knows the importance of hand washing, he is often very busy and unable to wash his hands often. In Kasese District, surveys by the URN reporter indicate that a great number of people have now abandoned healthy practices such as routine hand washing.
Such washing facilities in public places are curently being un-untilised

Audio 4

Many people have abandoned hand washing in Kasese district following a reduction in the public awareness messages on the deadly Ebola virus.

Following the confirmed outbreak of Ebola in Kasese district last year, the Health Ministry rolled out a massive hand washing campaign with the alcohol based sanitizer to stem the spread of the disease.    

Hand washing containers were setup at various entry points to the district and public places. However, most residents have abandoned the practice because of the huge reduction in the Ebola public awareness messages. 

Nelson Baluku, a Boda boda rider along Alexander Street of Kasese municipality, says whereas he knows the importance of hand washing, he is often very busy and unable to wash his hands often.     

Rutooro     

//Cue in: “Abantu nibatekeresa ebola…        

Cue out out: “nti ebola ekahwayo.”//       

Nathumani Mnape operates a stall in Kasinde Market in Kasese Municipality. Mnape says people have given up on hand washing because of the scale down on the Ebola awareness messages. 

It is evident that the 5-litre hand washing container at his stall hasn’t been used in several hours. Mnape also believes they have overcome the Ebola problem.   

Swahili    

//Cue In: “Kwanini nasema iko… 

 

Cue Out:…..akuna shida yoote.”// 

Patience Namba observes that although a number of people around town have given up on hand washing, as a woman it’s one of the things on top of her to do list. She says women are supposed to be conscious of their hygiene every single moment.

She faults the district and Government for falling to keep the hand washing messages running through the communities, saying the only time when such messages are popularized is during emergencies. At the busy Kasinde Market, the available hand washing dispenser at the entrance is a seemingly unnoticeable.  

Steven Bagonza, the Kasese District Health Inspector, who also doubles as the team leader Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Committee confirms the laxity and abandonment of hand washing practices. He attributes the development to the scale down of Ebola awareness messages.  

Bagonza observes that a number of people were washing hands routinely during the peak of the Ebola epidemic in the neighboring DRC. He however, says they are constrained to continue running the hand washing campaign because of lack of funding.    

English

//Cue In. “but most people…      

 

Cue Out….behaviour is a challenge.”//  

He however, says at the district level they have maintained some campaigns on best health practices. When asked about the availability of hand washing facilities across the district, Bagonza said the district has provided enough facilities in public places including schools and markets.

He however he notes that while they advocate for hand washing, safe water coverage in the district stands 56%.  

English   

 

//Cue In: “in regard to water…  

Cue Out…water to the people.”//  

DRC is still grappling with Ebola with over 2000 death registered last year. It is estimated that washing hands with soap and water could reduce disease-associated deaths by up to 50%.