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Ntungamo’s growth blind to hygiene

By Vision Reporter

Added 8th November 2013 04:38 PM

Ntungamo is probably one of the most known towns in western Uganda. It''s today''s focus in the Make Uganda Clean campaign.

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Ntungamo is probably one of the most known towns in western Uganda. It''s today''s focus in the Make Uganda Clean campaign.

By Stephen Ssenkaaba

Ntungamo is probably one of the most known towns in western Uganda. It also is a busy and growing town. This town lies about 360Km southwest of Kampala between Mbarara and Kabale.

Today, the town has a population of 16,800 people according to the 2012 statistical abstract from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics. The various developments in the town have brought about traits that any growing town experiences.

Above all, the general cleanliness of the town is compromised.

A recent Vision Group survey, based on the views of various residents indicates concerns over hygiene and sanitation in the town. All respondents reported the existence of a cleaning schedule for the town, but they are dissatisfied with the waste bins/dustbins, earning the town a low rating of 2.9/10. Ninety percent of the respondents said they had ever seen dustbins in the town.

However, these dustbins were not only insufficient, but also dirty. With inadequate and unclean dustbins, maintenance of cleanliness in the town has become more difficult.


Waste from bananas.

According to the survey, there are no garbage skips in this town, only a garbage fill managed by the division. For a population of 16,800 people, this is not sufficient and likely to cause health hazards.

Seventy percent of the respondents had seen someone litter the town in the past three months. Given the inadequacy of dustbins, this is not surprising. Infact, respondents generally believe that this town is polluted.

Public toilets in Ntungamo are in a sorry state. Indeed, while all respondents said they were aware of public toilets in Ntungamo town, they said these toilets were dirty. It costs sh188 to access the public toilets, which is reasonable according to most of the respondents, but perhaps not affordable to some people.

As there are only two public toilets for a population of over 15,000, the toilet crisis in this town cannot be underestimated. It is therefore not surprising that human waste is managed through septic tanks, pit latrines and open defecation.

Sewage bursts have been seen by 85% of the respondents who said responses towards fixing the bursts were slow. This is another area of great concern in the town. With many places covered in bush, Ntungamo town needs to clear up.

Twenty five percent of the respondents said they had noticed overgrown grass in the town and the grass maintenance levels were rated as averagely good (5.1/10).

The town also grapples with stray animals and 25% of respondents said they had seen livestock/poultry loitering in the town over the past six months posing a serious health threat to the residents. Even though grid electricity is the main source of light in this town, most street lights were not working as 85% of the respondents observed.

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As such, 65% of the respondents consider Ntungamo streets not safe at night. Only some of the roads in Ntungamo are tarmacked according to 85% of our respondents and even those that are tarmacked have potholes.

This has made transport in this busy town nightmare. Even though the town mainly relies on piped water, the supply is irregular. Residents scored the availability of water in the town at a modest 3.9/10 mark.

Ninety percent of the respondents believe the town is noisy and said most of the noise comes from boda boda cyclists, traders, religious prayers, cars and bars in that order.

The town has one planner, two health inspectors, two engineers, no lands officer, education and environment officers. All these point to serious issues affecting the town, which need urgent attention if Ntungamo is to advance.

In numbers

1993: The year Ntungamo became a district.

16,800: The population of the town council.

Sh188: The average cost of accessing a public toilet

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Ntungamo’s growth blind to hygiene

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