Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The day we met the Prime Minister

Happy World Toilet Day 2014! An early visit to the Amuria District Chairman to thank him for the district's hospitality. With WaterAid's and partner's help Amuria is recognised as the most improved sub county in Uganda for sanitation.

This good news was not reflected in the health centre which we visited across the road from the council offices. For all intents and purposes the Health Centre is a hospital serving 55,000 people covering everything. Unbelievably they only have one doctor, for a population greater than the City of Bath.

We walked through the maternity ward where the beds and floor were full of expectant mothers but with patients with other ailments also. Outside patients families cooked and washed in the open air, there are no laundry or kitchen facilities. Medical waste burned in piles nearby. Latrines near to the wards were nearly full. WaterAid hope to improve sanitation and encourage other partners to assist in areas beyond WaterAid's expertise. I hope this hospital receives help. Just thinking about maternity alone the risk of infection for new mothers must be so high and giving birth with no pain relief is hard enough.

A short walk into the light and celebration at Amuria school for World Toilet Day! My highlight of the school tour was speaking to Juliet whilst she drew a picture of washing hands after visiting the latrines. She was interested in our toilets and plumbing in the UK and believes we do not suffer from any diseases.

Me and Juliet

The festivities for World Toilet Day suddenly began next to the school in an outdoor arena with shade provided for over 1000 guests under trees and marquees. The Ugandans love their speeches and introductions! The speeches were interdispersed with dancing,singing, poetry and acting. All highlighted the need and desire for effective sanitation and hygiene.
Another great poster

I seem to have taken on the role as unofficial dance leader for the group, although I don't believe Ugandans have seen a white woman 'Maasi' jump before! The conga I joined did get tied up with the guards ceremony of retrieving the Ugandan flag but I think they enjoyed it!

Dancing to celebrate World Toilet Day

And the Prime Minister? He couldn't make it but he sent along his Ministers for Health, Water and the Environment and Refugees and Immigration.
A successful World Toilet Day with recognition for WaterAid's intervention and sustainability. Back to Kampala tomorrow, please join me there!

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