September 2, 2013 (TORIT) – Lawmakers in South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria state have summoned the health minister and commissioner over poor sanitation in the capital, Torit.
- Eastern Equatoria health minister Margarete Itto addresses the press in Torit June 17, 2013 (ST)
The summons came after the chairperson of the health committee in the assembly, Margaret Kasara Kiwa, raised a number of urgent health and sanitation matters.
Following a visit to Torit state hospital last month, committee members were reportedly shocked by sanitation conditions in the main referral facility.
The assembly speaker, Ambrose Ocholimoi, said on Monday that proceedings were adjourned to allow the two summoned officials to appear before lawmakers and explain the deplorable health situation.
On a separate visit to Omoliha market, the committee also reportedly discovered very unhygienic conditions at the butchery, restaurants and surrounding latrines.
Mark Taban, the committee’s deputy chairperson, insists most of the prevailing diseases are preventable.
“The only way to prevent some of the diseases is by improving the sanitation in the state and especially in Omoliha market where food is prepared in a dirty environment”, he told Sudan Tribune.
The state health minister, Margaret Itto, has also been asked to explain to lawmakers why the region lacks adequate drug supplies, particularly in the main referral hospital.
LAWMAKERS SPEAK OUT
Lawmaker Dominic Otwari said more space needs to be allocated for the expansion of Torit hospital.
“The hospital should have a provision for corridors to enable safe movement of doctors from one ward to another”, he said.
Another lawmaker, Okumu Robert, has demanded that the state health ministry check all clinics and health centres to ensure they have latrines for their patients.
He cited a situation where a health centre in his constituency collapsed, leading to its eventual closure.
“We need to ensure that laws that are passed from the state assembly are implemented in all counties”, he said.