Devoid of words. A story of poor latrines told in pictures

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Fredrick Mugira
January 09, 2012

Lack of access to safe water and proper sanitation remain critical public health issues worldwide.

Up to 2.6 billion people live without access to effective latrines on the planet earth. This contributes to the prevalent incidence of water-related diseases, which kill a child every 15 seconds.

Clean water and sanitation are essential elements of human development and poverty alleviation, and constitute an indispensable component of primary health care.

In this story, we take you to the southwestern region of Uganda to see for yourself the state of latrines in the poor communities there.

As you will discover in the pictures, families there build dry pit latrines close to their homes. The exact design varies according to local conditions. Some are household latrines, some are communal.

In this story, you will also realize the use of unimproved pit latrines, poor conditions accompanied by bad smells and overflows, and conducive breeding grounds for mosquitoes and flies. This contributes to the widespread incidences of open defecation as people prefer bushes to such latrines.

Do not be surprised to learn that this latrine in Bushenyi district is closed. The torn sack you see there is the latrine’s door.
Any strong wind can easily blow away this latrine in Mwizi Mbarara district. On top of having broken poles inside, a banana tree fell on it weakening it further. Its floor is made of soft wood which can easily break down.
The use of a piece of sack as a door on latrines is common in the region
Even this latrine in Kashari Mbarara has a piece of a sack on its entrance as a door. The latrine can easily be swept away or filled by flood waters
This latrine in Biharwe Mbarara district had no door. It is free entry and exit.
This four stance latrine belongs to a public school in Kashari Mbarara. Instead of toilet papers, pupils use leaves
This six stance latrine also belongs to a public primary school in Kashari Mbarara.

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