In Uganda, only 25% of our people wash their hands after visiting the toilet, President Yoweri Museveni has observed.
“It’s ashaming!,” Museveni said on Tuesday while officiating at celebrations marking World Population Day that were held at Madibira Primary playground in Busia district, Eastern Uganda under the theme: “Strengthen Youth Comprehensiveness for Sustainable Development.”
The president’s remarks came after Health minister, Jane Ruth Aceng, told parliament that only 27 per cent of Ugandans wash their hands with soap and water after using the toilet.
“Short of this, we shall continue to have mortality due to preventable diseases like typhoid, cholera and dysentery,” Dr Aceng said during plenary on Wednesday, July 5 at Parliament.
“With due respect to all the men in the House, it is mainly the women who wash their hands. The men do not.”
Museveni, speaking in Busia, said household hygiene was still a challenge.
“For us in NRM, prevention is the priority. We know that in Uganda, only 27% of the people wash their hands with water and soap after visiting the toilet.”
He said this has serious public health implications for the control of infectious diseases like cholera, typhoid, dysentery and other diarrheal diseases.
Seventy five per cent (75%) of disease burden in Uganda is preventable and personal hygiene is key in this effort, Museveni explained.
“Surely, we don’t need a budget from the Ministry of Finance to sort out this!”
He said government has invested heavily in the construction of health centres.
By 1986, the health sector was in a state of near collapse with dilapidated and very poorly equipped health facilities.
Our Government has increased health facilities to a total of 1,708 and this has brought health services nearer to the people.
This, combined with an increase in numbers of health workers, has contributed to the reduction in maternal mortality (deaths of mothers during pregnancy or child birth) from 435 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2010/11 to 368 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2015/16, the president said.
“As a result of these interventions, Ugandans are now healthier and live longer than ever before. The last Census (2014 Census) indicated improvement of life expectancy. That Census indicated that life expectancy in Uganda increased from 43 years in 1991 to 63 years in 2014.”
He said a combination of reduced mortality and increased life expectancy has led to a rapid increase in our population.
Uganda’s population has grown from 16.7 million people in 1990 to 34.6 million in 2014 and is expected to reach 40 million by next year. This is Uganda’s most important asset.