AID’s sanitation project in Juba, South Sudan, has renamed itself the ”Trumpeter Community Health Project” after a passage in Ezekiel 33:3-5, where trumpets are blown to warn people of judgement. It says ‘if he had taken warning, he would have saved his life.”
”The sanitation condition in Juba is very poor,” says Remijo Lado, a Sudanese medic who is the Director of the project; 1 in 7 children die before their fifth birthday and mostly from diseases such as diarhoea which are caused by poor sanitation conditions. The project’s volunteers see themselves as trumpeters, warning communities of the deadly dangers of poor sanitation and praying that they take heed and change their behaviour. One of the main aims of the Trumpeter Community Health Project (TCHP) is to reduce ”open defecation” (i.e. going to the toilet in the open rather than using a latrine) which rapidly spreads disease into water sources and from person to person.
The volunteers have worked hard over the last 9 months, visiting and interviewing 1,000s of households to understand their sanitation practices and beliefs. Initial visits revealed that most families did not understand the importance of washing their hands after going to the toilet or the benefits of using a latrine, but as volunteers began to educate them in the importance of these things, they found that families were, ”washing hands after every latrine visit,” that ”open defecation has reduced,” and as a result, ”diseases for under-5s have reduced.”
Community leaders, ”are asking if we can extend the programme, because if they compare Block A in Munuki community (where the TCHP is at work) with these two blocks (where the TCHP is not at work) it is totally different – there are a lot of changes.” Remijo Lado.