Gamo Gofa, Konso and Derashe are overpopulated areas where it is difficult to establish and maintain proper sanitation facilities. These poor sanitary conditions mean that bacteria spread quickly and trachoma infections are common. Open field defecation around the periphery of the villages was a common phenomenon in the area until recently. By repairing and building latrines, ORBIS has improved sanitation facilities and the effect this has on reducing the transmission of trachoma is significant.
Trachoma is a major public health problem here. Scarcity of water, poor personal hygiene and environmental sanitation and overcrowding contribute to the transmission of the disease. This poor sanitation and lack of toilet facilities means that the transmission of trachoma is common. Open field defecation is common practice, and bacteria spreads rapidly in these conditions. By building communal latrines, this will ensure that a higher standard of sanitation is maintained in the village.
This project will ensure that a higher standard of sanitation facilities is provided for communities. The construction of communal latrines will improve the surrounding environment,and the incidence of trachoma will be reduced.Through training teachers and health education workers the process of open field defecation has reduced, and people are aware of the importance of hygiene and sanitation.Communities can play an active part in building the latrines by providing labor and some materials.
The construction of latrines demonstrates to local communities that the use of latrines will reduce the disease transmission and help maintain a clean environment. ORBIS has adopted the WHO's SAFE strategy which involves conducting corrective surgery, distributing antibiotics, raising awareness of facial cleanliness and recommends improving the environment as a means to eradicate trachoma. By constructing latrines communities can enjoy improved sanitation as part of this strategy.