News & Updates

UWASNET installs sanitation and hygiene facilities at Malaba to prevent spread of communicable diseases across East Africa

UWASNET installed and launched sanitation and handwashing facilities at Malaba border point with the aim of preventing the spread of communicable diseases across the borders of East Africa.

A total of 2,500 consignments that include cargo, vehicles and travelers pass through Malaba border point everyday making it one of the busiest border points in the region.

Mr. Haruna Mutebi, the Supervisor – Customs, Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) noted that issues of sanitation and hygiene are critical and this is why URA welcomed the project. He appreciated UWASNET’s support and also indicated a number of other border points that needed similar support to cater for the transient communities’ WASH related needs to curb the spread of communicable diseases.

Mr. Joshua Wepukhulu representing the Asistant Commissioner Administration at Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) expressed his gratitude to UWASNET and stressed the need for sustainability and functionality of the facilities.

Mrs. Yunia Yiga Musaazi, the Executive Director of UWASNET noted that the installation of the sanitation and handwashing facilities was a regional initiative by WaterAid East Africa aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19 across the borders.

Mrs. Yunia noted, “The Covid-19 pandemic brought out the centrality and relational value the Water and Sanitation sub-sector has to human health, social and economic development and the need to prioritise the sector in the national budget. UWASNET is grateful to partners like WaterAid who partnered with us to propel this advocacy agenda and even funded initiatives like the installation of sanitation and handwashing facilities to benefit the most affected communities along Uganda’s borders. We are also grateful to partners like Uganda Revenue Authority that gave us an opportunity to address some of their most pressing needs and we are hopeful the facilities will contribute to limiting the transmission of communicable diseases like cholera, intestinal worms, and Covid-19.” 

Ms. Jane Sembuche, the Country Director of WaterAid Uganda was present at the launch, representing the Ms. Olutayo Bankole-Bolawole, WaterAid East Africa’s Regional Director who said, “Under phase one, we launched a similar project on the Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania side of the border. We realized for us to truly make a difference we needed to expand the project on the Uganda side as well. Managing handwashing facilities at border points should go hand in hand with continued behavior change awareness campaigns with an emphasis on hand hygiene to combat the spread of communicable diseases, build resilient health systems, cross border trading, lives and livelihoods.”

Mr. Odije Julius, Mayor Malaba Town Council representative thanked the partners for investing in Malaba saying that the facility will contribute to the reduction of open defecation and WASH related diseases in the town council.

Mr. Oicengere Charles, the representative from the Chief Administrative Officer, Tororo District Local Government requested the partners to also commit funds towards community sensitization and behavioral change communication to facilitate good habits that will not block the sanitation facility. “A number of community members have never used flush toilets; they will bring stones and other materials to dump into the toilet and it will be blocked. We need to mobilize the communities and teach them how to use the flush toilets and the bathrooms,” he noted.  

Mr. Alfred Adriko, Supervisor Customs representing the Regional Manager noted that the long-distance drivers were excited about the new facility and were eager to use it. He noted that over 2,000 people would be using the facility per day because Malaba is the busiest border point in the region.

A number of critical partners were present during the launch of the facilities including, representatives from the Boda Boda Association of Malaba, Cross Border Women Traders, Long Distance Drivers Association, the Business Community, Uganda Clearing Industry and Forwarding Association (UCIFA) etc.

 Samwiri, a long-distance driver welcomed the facilities saying it will promote good hygiene practices amongst the long-distance drivers because they will have somewhere to bath, wash their clothes, iron and use the toilets. “Drivers on the Malaba route will be clean because they have this facility,” he said. 

In 2020, following the confirmation of Covid-19 pandemic in Uganda, WaterAid East Africa Regional Team partnered with UWASNET under a project titled, “Upscale and Implement an Integrated Behavioral Model for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Technology at Vurra border in Arua District and Malaba border in Tororo district,” with the aim of limiting the transmission and minimization of the impacts and threats of Covid-19 and other WASH related illnesses among the transient communities along the East Africa border points.

Under the project, WaterAid East Africa Regional Team supported the installation of sanitation and hand washing facilities at the two border points of Vurra and Malaba to contribute to the ongoing national and East African Community’s Response to Covid-19.

The project aimed at;

  1. Strengthening already existing WASH related interventions by existing partners at the border points;
  2. Sensitizing and creating awareness on Behavior Change as a protection measure against Covid-19 Response
  3. Establishing functional sustainable protection measures around the border points against Covid-19 and other WASH related diseases.
  4. Strengthening UWASNET capacity to deliver WASH services and promote inclusive sustainable WASH within the East Africa Region.

Under the project, UWASNET installed sanitation that include 12- stance flush toilets for both men and women, 5-stance shower rooms for men and women, urinals, changing rooms for Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) and eight handwashing basins.

the launch took place on Friday, June 24th, 2022 at the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) offices at Malaba border point and was graced by a number of officials from Tororo district local government, Malaba town council, Uganda Revenue Authority, Kenya Revenue Authority, Immigration, Port Health, security forces, the business community, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), media etc. 

Similar interventions were successfully launched and handed over at Holili, Horohoro, Lungalunga, Busia, and Rusizi borders covering the DRC, Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda crossings and are benefitting thousands using these routes.

Another sanitation and hygiene facility will be launched in Vurra, Arua border point in Uganda in July 2022. Beyond the Covid-19 pandemic, the one stop WASH facilities will support neighboring communities in minimizing the spread of communicable diseases.  

Download the detailed newsletter on the installation here

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