Nakuru County to build toilets for in-transit travellers - Beaking Kenya News

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Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Nakuru County to build toilets for in-transit travellers


Long-distance travel by road is usually tiresome and not something many people look forward to.
It becomes a nightmare if a call of nature knocks in the middle of the journey.

In most instances, bus and matatu drivers stop in the middle of nowhere, and as soon as the door is opened, people rush out in different directions in search of the nearest bush to relieve themselves.

However, this unhealthy habit will soon become a thing of the past on the busy Nairobi-Nakuru-Eldoret highway.

The Nakuru County government is partnering with other agencies in the construction of more than 20 toilets along the busy highway.

The toilets will offer relief to motorists and passengers, as well as reduce incidence of open defecation.

Cost of project

The devolved unit has already started building the toilets, which will cost at least Sh20 million, at various stopovers along the road including Total Junction, Longonot and Maai Mahiu.

County Public Health Chief Officer Samuel King'ori says the move is part of an elaborate plan to eradicate the problem of open defecation along major roads in the county.

“We are building public toilets at various stopovers along the busy highway including at Kinungi, Kikopey, Salgaa, Kibunja, Total Junction, Pipeline and Longonot.

Already, we have set up some at Total junction, Longonot and Maai Mahiu,” revealed Mr King'ori.

The Nakuru-Subukia-Nyahururu road will also benefit from the project, the official said.

Travellers and truck drivers, especially those using the busy Nairobi-Nakuru-Eldoret highway, are usually forced to relieve themselves in nearby bushes, thereby putting residents at risk of disease outbreaks.

Open Defecation Free

Nakuru falls along the Nairobi-Eldoret highway, which is part of the Northern Corridor and is the most important road to Western Kenya and the artery that connects Kenya and the landlocked countries of Uganda, Southern Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi.

The road is crucial for the transportation of Western-bound cargo from Nairobi city and the Port of Mombasa.

Nakuru has attained 87 per cent toilet coverage and only about two per cent of the population practises open defecation; 45 per cent of the population share toilets, while 356 villages in the county are certified Open Defecation Free (ODF).

Nakuru launched the ODF campaign in 2017, with rural and far-flung areas as the main area of focus.
According to Mr King’ori, a sustained campaign targeting various villages, which is aimed at sensitising residents on hygiene, has seen the number of sanitation-related diseases drop significantly.

"Proper hygiene has eradicated communicable diseases. In Nakuru, we have been able to reduce cholera, diarrhoea and typhoid cases by at least 80 per cent and we seek to have them eliminated in the county,” stated Mr King’ori.

Cholera outbreak

In 2014, the Ministry of Health expressed concern over the high number of people who defecate in the open, mainly along the main highways. 

Health officials identified open defecation as one of the leading causes of typhoid and diarrhoea in the county.

Nakuru has in the past been hit by major cholera and other disease outbreaks linked to open defecation.

In 2015, for instance, a cholera outbreak claimed about 30 lives while 298 cases were reported in one month in Nakuru County.

The most affected areas were Kihoto, Kikopey, Salgaa, Kaptembwo, Ponda Mali, Mogotio at the border of Nakuru and Baringo counties.

Sanitation facilities

Last year, Mr Adrian Kamotho, an advocate of the High Court, sued Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia for failing to come up with a policy that would ensure there are public toilets on major highways.

In the petition, lawyer Kamotho also sought to have the Council of Governors (CoG) cited for contempt for failing to constitute a working group to come up with the policy as directed by a judge early this year.

Justice Kossy Bor had directed the CS in January 2020 to form a group of representatives from the CoG, Kenya National Highways Authority, Kenya Rural Roads Authority and Kenya Urban Roads Authority.

The group would be tasked with formulating a policy for the provision of toilets and other sanitation facilities on the country’s major road network.

Travellers to the countryside and back to the city usually relieve themselves in the bushes or in hotels along the highways.

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