Barely two months after a Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) project, introduced by an Indian medical doctor Kamal Karr under the auspices of UNICEF, Ogoo Farm yesterday declared that it was an open defecation-free community.
The Ogoo Farm community leader, Bai Kabia, stated that in his community before now the deaths rate from cholera related cases as a result of their community being an open defecation society was alarming
He said they embraced the CLTS project and decided to construct 57 latrines and thus became the first community out of 33 others which started the project on a pilot phase to be declared free of open defecation.
This declaration by the Ogoo Farm community came in the wake of the International Year of Sanitation. UNICEF, the lead organization behind the CLTS, said the International Year of Sanitation 2008 aimed at raising the profile of sanitation issues on the international agenda and to accelerate progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals target of reducing by half the proportion of people living without access to improved sanitation by 2015.
Adele Khudr, the deputy Country Representative of UNICEF, stated that in Sierra Leone one in every four child died before the age of five from easily preventable diseases such as malaria, diarrhea, and anti-respiratory infection.
She stated that using proper toilets and hand washing-preferably with soap- prevented the transfer of bacteria, viruses and parasites found in human excreta which otherwise contaminated water sources, soil and food.
Adele Khudr commended the efforts of the Ogoo Farm community to ensure that their society was free from open defecation and also commended DFID, their development partner, for committing over 32 million Pounds to address water supply, sanitation and hygiene promotion in both rural and urban communities, nationwide.
She pledged UNICEF’s continued commitment in partnering with the government to address the many but insurmountable challenges of ensuring the survival growth and development of the children of Sierra Leone.
By Mohamed Fofanah