Govt. steps up campaign to achieve Open Defecation Free Kenya by 2020


NAIROBI, Kenya, 8 February 2017 – The Government has intensified campaign to accelerate access to adequate sanitation and hygiene in all counties and end Open Defecation in Kenya (ODF) by 2020.

Over the past three years Kenya has increased the number of ODF villages from 1,231 in 2014 to 5,434 villages in 2016.

This change represented a 340% increment in the number of villages certified ODF during this period said the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Dr. Cleopa Mailu in a speech read by the Director of Medical Services, Dr. Jackson Kioko during the Second National Sanitation and hygiene Conference on Tuesday.

“This achievement is an indication that that we are making slow progress towards achieving the goal of declaring all the 69,299 villages in the country open defecation free by the year 2020. Nevertheless, this speed needs to be accelerated for the set target to be achieved in a timely manner,” said the CS.

The CS called upon all counties to invest in sanitation and hygiene for Kenya to realize Vision 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals.

“In the spirit of “leave no one behind”, we call upon all county governments and implementing partners to end open defecation in their counties by the end of year 2017. We are concerned by some counties like Meru, Laikipia, Lamu and Nandi which to date are yet to initiate community led total sanitation (CLTS),” Dr. Mailu decried.

The CS revealed that in order to accelerate access to adequate sanitation and hygiene, the Ministry developed and launched the Kenya Environmental Sanitation and Hygiene Policy 2016-2030, the Kenya Environmental Sanitation and Hygiene Strategic framework 2016-2020, the Prototype County Environmental health and Sanitation Bill and Kenya open defecation free campaign road map 2020.

“County governments as a key stakeholder are urged to domesticate these policy documents, prioritize sanitation and hygiene in their County integrated development plans, allocate funds, build capacity and have a reliable reporting system for sanitation,” he argued.

The 2nd Kenyan National Sanitation and Hygiene conference whose theme is, “Accelerating access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and ending open defecation in Kenya,” is organised by the Ministry of Health in partnership with the Water Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) Interagency Coordinating Committee (ICC).

Studies have shown that, the poorest households have least access to facilities and the least ability to invest in their own resources but have the most to gain from access. The poorest children and families bear the greatest sanitation related health burden. National sanitation coverage figures mask disparities: the poorest 20% of the population are disproportionately more likely to practice open defecation.

The Constitution of Kenya has clearly highlighted under Article 43, Sanitation and Hygiene as a right to all Kenyans. In this regard, sanitation and hygiene is a basic necessity that contributes to better health, dignity and quality of life, said the CS.