A joint report by World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF shows good number of Kenyans are not accessing safe water and proper sanitation. The report points at disparities between the distribution of water and sanitation services to the urban poor and wealthier suburbs. However, slum population in Nairobi account for a good percentage of the total population affected where open defecation and busted sewers is a norm.
Research also points that consumption of dirty water, poor hygiene and sanitation related health complications accounts for over 60% of all hospital visits within the nation.
According to MSF clinic in Kibera, poor hygiene and sanitation diseases accounted for over 60% of all consultations at their clinic. Water, sanitation and hygiene related illnesses and conditions are the number one cause of deaths in children under age five according to the 2012 Joint WHO and UNICEF report. Lack of water and sanitation also contributes to high risks of rape and school drop out for girls. Globally, open defecation cause soil transmitted parasites infect more than one billion people, due to lack of adequate Water and sanitation interventions.
There are Plastic water pipes passing through open sewers. Sometimes the pipes have leakages which allow filtration of the sewer into the water
Health statistics from AMREF’s Kibera Health Centre indicate water-borne infections cases are acute in Kibera. Respiratory Infections accounted for 31% of consultations while water and hygiene related diseases like diarrheal, and eye infections recorded 21%. Poverty and lack of an elaborate mechanism within the community to address water and hygiene problems is to blame. Women and children are the most affected because of their susceptibility to these diseases.
Turkana District Public Health Officer Innocent Sifuna says risks of using high salinized and fluoride water of Lake Turkana continues to cause deformities of the limbs for many children in the area. Turkana district residents have limb deformities such as bow legs or knocked knees. Cholera cases have also been high in the region with devastating outbreaks that have mainly affected children.
“Currently there are about 50 children from the area who are in special schools because they are deformed and handicapped. Studies have showed the conditions have been caused by use of Lake Turkana water,” says Mr. Sifuna. “The worst scenario however was an outbreak of cholera in 2009 which killed many people.”