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.
Many people have abandoned hand washing in Kasese
district following a reduction in the public awareness messages on the deadly Ebola
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
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.
//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.
//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.
//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
He however he notes that while they advocate for hand washing, safe
water coverage in the district stands 56%.
//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%.