COVID-19: Water Ministry orders District leaders to repair of non-functional boreholes

Kampala – Ministry of Water and Environment has directed leaders to repair all non-functional boreholes in their respective districts to expedite direct access to clean water, RedPepper Digital‘s Maurice Muhwezi reports

In a letter issued by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr. Alfred Okot Okidi, urged Local Council 5 chairpersons, Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs) and Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) to prioritise boreholes repair using funds availed in the District Water Grant.

In line with the preventive measures issues by H.E (President Museveni) against the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), you are hereby advised to prioritise the repair of non-functional boreholes in your districts using the District Water Grant,” read the statement sanctioned by PS Okidi.

In March 22 address on COVID-19, President Museveni challenges the masses to wash/sanitise their hands as often and avoid touching their soft parts to curb the spread of the coronavirus,

“Please wash your hands at all times. In offices, you could have someone go around with disinfectants cleaning tables, chairs and other surfaces. But at a personal level, wash your hands frequently and don’t touch your delicate parts like nose, mouth and eyes,” said President Museveni

“Do not sneeze (okwetsyamura) fwaaa (ensure you have tissue or a hankie) Wash hands with soap regularly. Make it a habit not to touch your eyes nose or mouth with unwashed hands,” Museveni added.

Access to water

Statistics from the Uganda National Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) indicate that Seventy-six percent of Uganda’s population (approx. 31 million people) lives in rural areas.

According to the Ministry of Water and Environment 2019 Sector Performance Report, only 36 per cent of rural inhabitants and 40 per cent of urban inhabitants have hand-washing facilities with soap and water at home.

Distressingly, the Uganda Demographic and Health Survey of 2016 capped only 44 per cent of households had access to soap and water at a place for hand-washing with merely 32 percent having only water, and up to 21 percent had neither.

These insights leave the Ugandans in rural areas exposed to the coronavirus as access to clean water and soap to wash their hands lingers in uncertainty,

Development and relief agencies continue to support efforts to build boreholes in highly populated areas, settlement camps, among others. Red Cross Society, UNHCR, ClimateCare, among others, facilitated construction and rehabilitation of boreholes across Northern Uganda.

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