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Cholera Cases in Karamoja reach 260: Landlords with no pit latrines to be arrested

By GodFred Eyoku and Timothy Eodu

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The number of Cholera cases in Moroto district of Karamoja sub region has jumped to 260 by Thursday 28th May, 2020, since it was first detected on May 12th, 2020.

The patients are currently admitted at Loputuk isolation centre in Nadunget sub county and 179 have been discharged after recovering and five deaths have been registered.

As a means of containing the spread of the disease, the administration of Moroto district has warned that landlords in the Municipality who do not have pit latrines, risk being arrested and prosecuted if they fail to respond positively.

This comes after the district confirmed the outbreak of Cholera on May 12th, 2020 by the acting District Health Officer, Charles Onyang Omuudu, after seven out of the eight samples tested positive.

Isaiah Tumwesigye, the town clerk for Moroto Municipal Council, disclosed that the district has a very poor latrine coverage (21%) and (18%) for the municipality; which calls for more stringent actions against such individuals whom he said are endangering the lives of many others in the municipality due to open defecation.

“Open defecation has been a challenge to the district for such a long period of time and we think by identifying individuals who don’t have latrines in their homes and also carrying out patrols to truck open defecators then bring them to book would make our town cleaner as we wait for the city status come 2023,” Tumwesigye said.

He also told Aica that a police case has already been filed against such landlords and landladies without pit latrines at the Moroto CPS under SD Ref 34/05/12/19 and will be charged for uttering public nuisance.

Markets closed

Health authorities in the district have closed all makeshift markets and banned the sale of local brew in the area following the outbreak of cholera.

The acute diarrhea disease spreads through the consumption of contaminated food and water.

The Town Clerk says closing the open markets within the municipal council is meant to prevent the spread of cholera.

The closure of food markets, sale of local brew has affected members of the community who are still coming to terms with the lockdown.

Sofia Nachuge a produce seller in Nabatwa market says the blanket closure of small markets, will render more women unemployed and unable to feed their families.

She says that the authorities should have targeted only the food vendors and persons operating a business in unhygienic environments.

Andrew Stephen Oduch and Nesforo Ofwono, all residents of Moroto town said the closure will leave people poor.

Peter Lokwang, a landlord in Nakapelimen says it is difficult to dig pit latrines in the area thus making most landlords and landladies who cannot afford to construct better latrines to give up and either use public latrines or go down the rivers.

Meanwhile, the LC1 of Katanga village in North Division Moroto Municipality, Mr. Moses Lomilo Modern reacted that some landlords in his area were given slabs by some NGOs to construct pit latrines but have not done so whereas others have constructed but don’t use them.

Mr. Andrew Keem Napaja, the Moroto district LC5, has requested that government and NGOs improvise slabs and excavation tools to those who are willing to start constructing their toilets such that only those defiant landlords and landladies can be dealt with accordingly.

Hon. Stella Atiang, the woman MP for Moroto district, has expressed concern that cholera can kill someone within just 12 hours (killed 5 in 2 weeks) and as such the communities and leaders must take it more serious in the region as it tends to be more dangerous than corona which has killed no one yet.

The MP has urged the community to ensure proper ways of waste disposal and also keep personal hygiene to avoid cholera. She has also advised those without pit latrines to burry their feaces such that they don’t be carried back by flies which could result into more cholera in the district.

The Rescue

Mr. Teko Joseph Achilla the Chairman Lc1 labourline cell in south division Moroto municipality trying out some of the hand washing equipment set at the door step of latrine commissioned. Looking of is Hon Angela and other district officials.

Fred Angela, the MP for Moroto municipality, has commissioned two pit latrines worth eight million shillings to help curb the spread of cholera.

Hon. Angela, said the facility will greatly boost latrine coverage and curb the vice of open defecation as cholera hit hard in Moroto municipality

In the recent mapping done by the Moroto Municipality authorities, a majority of the population in the Municipality (82%) had no pit latrines and among those were LCs, government and Non-Government employees.

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