ARUSHA, Tanzania, July 30 (Xinhua)-- Tanzania is set to build modern public latrines along the east African nation's major highways in a new drive to control open defecation (OD).
Anyitike Mwakitalima, coordinator of the National Sanitation Campaign, said Sunday that the initiative is one of the government's efforts to fulfill the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which states; "by 2030, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations."
He said that the Tanzanian government through Ministry of Health Community Development, Gender, Elderly, and Children was alarmed by open defecation along highways, hence is determined to build toilet facilities in those strategic areas, across the east African nation.
"As a government, we're concerned about the high number of people who defecate in the open mainly along the main highways in the country," the official said.
He said that the government plans to build public latrines in the highways which connecting Dar es Salaam to Tunduma (two latrines), Dar es Salaam-Mtwara (one latrine), Morogoro-Mwanza (two latrines), Kagera-Kahama(two latrines), Mbeya-Katavi (one latrine), and Dar es Salaam-Arusha (one latrine).
According to him, the open defecation was one of the leading causes of the increase in the number of typhoid and diarrhea cases in the county.
Mwakitalima said that the National Sanitation Campaign is also mandated to ensure every Tanzanian is using a sanitation facility.
He, however, said that campaign is also projected to reach out 15,000 villages and streets across the country.
The first phase of the project started in 2012 and ended in June last year, while the second phase started in July 2016 and will go up to June 2021.
"We're closely working with villagers through the community-led total sanitation (CLTS) approach, whereby the community is highly engaged," the official said.
Among other beneficiaries of the project include public schools, whereby in the first-phase 2,133 toilets were built in primary schools.
"We're also planning to reach out 3,500 primary schools, 700 in secondary schools, and 1,000 dispensaries," he said.
So far, according to the official, Tanzanian government and development partners have pledged to pump in 53 million U.S. dollars to support the campaign.
About 26 million Tanzanians use unsanitary or shared latrines, whereby 5.4 million have no latrine at all and defecate in the open.