WSSCC supports Kenya’s First National Annual Conference on Sanitation & Hygiene

Date: 20th April 2014

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Credit: WSSCC/Katherine Anderson

WSSCC is a supporting partner for Kenya’s First National Annual Conference on Sanitation & Hygiene, which is being held 1-3 April 2014 in Nairobi.

The Ministry of Health has organized the National Sanitation Conference to spur action towards accelerating access to improved sanitation for all Kenyans in the context of the devolved system of government.

The specific objectives are:

  • Advocating for increased focus on sanitation by county and national government and sector players, specifically addressing financing and capacity resource gaps
  • Ensuring that county planning is aligned towards attaining national targets and country commitments
  • Networking and knowledge sharing by sanitation stakeholders in strengthening learning and an enabling environment

The conference includes two days with a focus on experience sharing, knowledge/skills building and county planning. On the third day, the focus is on on getting commitments for the implementation of the county plans. Several keynote addresses will be given that will advocate for this commitment.

International experiences will also be shared, including by Ms. Elizabeth Wamera, Programme Support Officer in the WSSCC Networking and Knowledge Management Department. At WSSCC, Ms. Wamera provides support to WSSCC National Coordinators to implement their country strategies in line with WSSCC organizational strategic goals. Mr. Tobias Omufwoko of the Kenya WASH Alliance is the WSSCC National Coordinator in Kenya. WSSCC is also in the process of working with national partners to support sanitation and hygiene work via the WSSCC Global Sanitation Fund, expected to be launched in the country later in 2014.

Organizers at the Ministry of Health say the conference will mark a turning point for Kenya as the country seeks to make the right to sanitation a reality. County governments hold the key to making this happen and are therefore actively involved in the event.

A significant portion of Kenya’s disease burden is caused by poor personal hygiene, inadequate sanitation practices and unsafe drinking water. Approximately 19,500 Kenyans, including 17,100 children under the age of five years, die each year from diarrhoea. Diarrhoea prevalence for under-5’s remains at 17% nationally, but disproportionately affects the poorest people in the population With over 5.8 million Kenyans still defecating in the open, the prevalence of diseases such as diarrhoea, amoeba, typhoid and cholera will continue to persist unless drastic action is taken. In addition to the health and nutrition effect, poor sanitation is expensive. Kenya loses an estimated KES 27 Billion (365 million USD) each year, which is 1% of national GDP, due to poor sanitation. Open defecation itself costs Kenya US$88 million per year.

For more information, please contact Ms. Elizabeth Wamera at elizabeth.wamera@wsscc.org.

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