Always seeking to warn more families of the dangers of living in poor sanitation conditions, The Trumpeter Community Health Project began reaching out to the community in Myro in Cassava, Juba, in February this year.
The Trumpeters have been working in various parts of Juba since June 2014 with encouraging success. A huge motivator for their work is to reduce child mortality in South Sudan: diseases such as cholera, pneumonia and acute diarrhoea account for over 40% of child deaths and yet are are easily preventable through good sanitation practices.
Assessing needs in Myro
Community Volunteers visited the local health facilities and were able to analyse figures showing the numbers of patients presenting with diarrhoea or related illnesses. This is really helpful as they try to assess levels of need, and later to measure the success of any interventions.
They also discovered that most of the new areas in Myro have no latrine and shared latrines that do exist are often misused (for example defecation on the doorstep or around the latrine). Factors which contribute to this are: lack of knowledge about how to use latrines, lack of light in the space at night and filthy floor or paths around it. This means simply building new latrines is not enough! – education about latrine use and concrete plans for shared maintenance of the sites, are needed for a long term solution. This is where the volunteers, as they work with all parts of the community, are ideally placed to make a difference.
Working with the community
A meeting between the volunteers, community leaders and payam authorities provided a valuable opportunity to discuss the sites for latrines to be built, the best type to build and how to construct the latrines to enable people to use them with confidence. Improved use of latrines should lead to a decrease in open defecation, a key objective of the project. The volunteers will also be working to clear three sites that have been used for open defecation.
As always, the team has spent a lot of time visiting households, talking to people in the community to identify needs in general, and in particular which households are the most vulnerable to disease. The volunteers will then be returning to support these households, talking through attitudes and beliefs about hygiene and disease, promoting good practice in handwashing with soap, showing how to make simple oral rehydration solutions, and raising awareness of the importance of good sanitation. They also plan to work directly with children in schools as the work in Myro continues.
Please pray for the volunteers and the community in Myro – that they would continue to work well together and that the changes made would be long lasting and ultimately save lives.