April 18, 2011 (JUBA) - Alarmed by escalating cases of acute water diarrhea in part of Southern Sudan, Plan International recently stepped up efforts to improve water and sanitation needs among communities in Seremon, Tijor, Dolo and Rajaf, all located in the outskirts of the regional capital, Juba.
- A community member participating in the safe drinking water campaign initiated by Plan South Sudan, March 17, 2011 (Photo: Christine Poni)
Emmanuel Nyoma, a community member cited inadequate access to safe drinking water and with poor hygiene as the major cause of the catastrophe affecting large numbers of the areas population.
“What we are experiencing is not only a health hazard, but also a persistent problem that is affecting many people especially women and girls at puberty. As a community, we have decided to work together to create a clean and hygienic environment that benefits everyone,” Nyoma told the Plan South Sudan team.
Tobias Loyata, the organization’s program unit manager decried the high influx of southern returnees in the mentioned areas, saying they risk being victims of infections associated to poor health and living conditions.
“South Sudan’s post war challenges are still enormous. With the massive influx of returnees, the populations in these areas are likely to face the realities of survival in the post war era,” Loyata said.
He added, “Health conditions are still poor, while most systems and services including sewage and water are in state of disrepair.”
Plan, he further observed, recently carried out focused group discussion and participatory appraisals in the areas of Juba, with findings indicating that health risks related to lack of access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities as key issues in requiring immediate intervention.
The survey, which reportedly supported by the southern government revealed that over 29,000 communities in Rokon, Dolo, Tijor and Rajaf still face severe water and sanitation problems, when compared to wider areas of Juba county.
However, working in partnership with Population Service International (PSI) Sudan, Plan South Sudan also carried out training on PUR [safe drinking water tablets] and its usage among member of selected communities.
Also of organization’s agenda is the need to empower youth and children through increased access to basic education by bringing schools nearer to community. For instance, Plan has reportedly supported the construction of four complete primary schools of Dimo 1, Loka west, Mirikio, and Seremon.
In addition, the organization says it strives to promote peace and stability through reintegration and reconstruction process, which is mainly done through providing support to technical and vocational training education.