August 08, 2012
KATHMANDU-The first national summit on drinking water and sanitation concluded on Tuesday with a Kathmandu Declaration urging the concerned actors to work together to achieve the national target of universal access to sanitation by 2017.
The two-day meet was jointly organised by the Federation of Water and Sanitation Users’ Nepal (FEDWASUN) and various government, non-governmental and donor agencies working in the sector.
The declaration stresses the need to work together and strengthen the coordination in areas such as participatory policy-making, capacity enhancement of the sanitation user groups, institutional development of FEDWASUN, and implementation of the programmes and services through the users’ network. Promotion of social campaigns on sanitation and cleanliness, and documentation of vital achievements in the sector are among other priorities of the declaration.
According to the statistics provided by the Department of Water Supply and Sewerage (DWSS) under the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works in 2010, still around 57 percent of the total population is deprived of basic sanitation facilities and around 20 percent people lack access to safe drinking water. A majority of the existing water supply infrastructure is either dysfunctional or lacks proper repair and maintenance.
Kamal Adhikari, sociologist at the DWSS and writer of the book ‘Sanitation in Nepal—Past, Present and Future’ launched during the summit, stated that the efforts for mainstreaming the strengths of communities in the sanitation sector activities are methodologically weaker.
Most of the programmes, he alleged, are the continuation of customary works of organising rallies and processions, gatherings and distribution of pipes and pans for latrines in public functions and the results are almost futile.
“There is a need for increasing the capacities, skills and facilities, and enabling institutional set-up to let the people internalise the values of sanitation and empower them to develop positive behaviours,” said Adhikari.
August 07, 2012
KATHMANDU: Do you use tap water for drinking purpose? If you do, better boil it for about seven minutes or do double filtering or treat it with chlorine to make it drinkable. A bacteriological analysis conducted by the National Public Health Laboratory shows seven in 10 households (70 per cent) in the
Valley is receiving water that contains high levels of coliform bacteria which can cause diarrhoea and vomiting.
After cholera cases were confirmed in some areas in the Capital, the Kathmandu District Public Health Office collected water samples from Teku, Bhimsenthan, Kalimati, Swoyambhu, Gaushala and Chhauni, and sent them to NPHL for bacteriological analysis. Though none of the samples contained vibrio cholerae strain, which causes cholera, results for faecal coliform were startling. The lab tests conducted under Most Probable Number method showed tap water in seven out of 10 houses contained more than 180 faecal coliform bacteria per 100 ml, and drinking such water without treatment could pose serious health hazard. The permissible number of faecal coliform in drinking water should not go beyond five per 100 ml.
“It is an alarming situation,” said Mahendra Prasad Shrestha, Chief of DPHO, Kathmandu. Shrestha said samples were collected after more cholera cases were confirmed at Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital. Shrestha suggested that water supplied in Kathmandu is undrinkable and must be treated before drinking it. Coliform bacteria are found in digestive tracts of animals, as well as humans, and are found in their faeces. If ingested through contaminated food or water, they cause bacterial gastroenteritis, dysentery, jaundice, Hepatitis A, typhoid fever, and associated problems.
Faecal coliform, like other bacteria, can usually be killed by boiling water or by treating it with chlorine. Washing thoroughly with soap after contact with contaminated water can also help prevent infections.
The last identified case of cholera in Kathmandu was in the first week of July. However, cholera has claimed at least 12 lives in Doti and Gorkha since mid-June.
• Tap water in seven out of 10 houses in Teku, Bhimsenthan, Kalimati, Swoyambhu, Gaushala and Chhauni is contaminated.
• More than 180 faecal coliform bacteria found in per 100 ml of water
• Permissible number of faecal coliform in drinking water should not go beyond five per 100 ml
• Coliform can cause gastroenteritis, dysentery, jaundice, Hepatitis A and typhoid fever.
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
2012-03-07 11:41 PM HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
By Laxmi Maharjan
KATHMANDU: As the world prepares to mark the year’s International Women’s Day, those working in the sectors of education and sanitation have said building and managing toilets for girl students is key to improving their education status.
The call comes at a time when around 60 per cent of Nepali girl students are forced to use open spaces due to lack of basic girl-friendly facilities in school toilets –– sufficient water, small incinerator to manage sanitary pads and lack of privacy.
“The issue is more closely related to education than most people think,” says Anita Pradhan, gender officer at WaterAid in Nepal.” Around two million Nepali girls do not have access to a toilet in school. As a result they are forced to stay home for days during menstruation and often drop out of school altogether.”
Sanitation in public schools has long been overlooked, government data shows. Of the 28,000 community schools in Nepal, only 18,000 have toilets for students. The situation is dire when it comes to toilets for girl students as only around 1,000 schools have some structure that they call a ‘separate toilet’ for girl students.
“More toilets need to be built in community schools and special attention must be paid to the needs of girl students,” adds Pradhan.
Challenges in providing girl students access to toilets are immense and the government understands the gravity of the situation, say officials. Authorities have included plans to build toilets for girl students in the School Sector Reform Programme.
Jhapper Singh Vishwokarma, senior divisional engineer at Department of Education said of the 7,000 toilets being built in community schools, 3,000 will be for girl students.
“Under School Sector Reform Programme, there are plans to build at least one toilet in all community schools by 2015,” said Vishwokarma. Last year the government built 10,362 toilets out of which 5,500 were girl-friendly.
Sushan Acharya of the department of Education, Tribhuvan University, said access to toilets for girls is a human right. “Toilets should be built keeping in mind the social, religious, cultural and economic status of the place,” she said.