3 pupils suffered snake bites through open defecation

Date published: Monday, 14th March 2016

Three pupils and a teacher from the Dabo District Assembly Primary and Junior High School in the Wa West District suffered snake bites last year through the practice of open defecation.
The school, with a population of 489 pupils at the Primary and 93 students at the Junior High School have access to only a four-seater toilet facility constructed for the school.
The children have to queue and go in turns to attend the facility, which is time consuming, and affected teaching and learning.
These were made known when Journalists on a field trip to some open defecation free communities in the Wa West District to find out the experiences of the communities members as compared to the era they were practicing open defecation.
UNICEF and the Regional Directorate of the Environmental Health Service organised the excursion to Kussale with a population of 70 inhabitants who provided household latrines on their own to end open defecation
The focus was to encourage journalists in the Region to report more on issues of environment, especially open defecation and raise awareness among communities to practice open defecation free through the construction of household latrines and hand washing.
The outing also took the journalists to Dabo within the same District, where inhabitants were still practicing open defecation.
During an interaction, journalist heard that several school children often had to make swift movements to the bush to defecate, which had resulted in some of them coming into contacts with snakes and scorpions as well as other reptiles.
Some of the school children who spoke to the journalists expressed fear of falling into the holes in the latrine; hence their preference for the bush.
The toilet facility was inadequate for the school and a new one was needed to meet the demand of children and teachers, Mr. Sobo Abdul-Lateef Jabir, Headmaster of the Dabo District Assembly Junior High School said.
Besides, Dabo with a population of about a 1,000 inhabitants also have one public toilet and people have to queue every morning to attend thereby compelling many of the people to go to the bush for open defecation.
Mr. Henry Baga, Upper West Regional Director of Environmental Health Service, said the regional directorate would involve more women in its campaign activities to sensitise the people to provide household latrines to reduce the incidence of open defecation.
He said his outfit would also scale up its monitoring activities to ensure that communities that were already practicing open defecation free were sustained.
He appealed to nongovernmental organisation involved in the provision of household latrines to avoid the practice of providing incentives to community members.
Mr. Baga said such incentives have made some communities to relax to take it upon themselves that the provision of household was purely for their own good and must not wait for incentives.


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