Looming Health Crisis in the North Rift.

courtesy of The standard.

North Rift counties are starring at a looming health crisis due to broken sewerage and sanitation systems. Residents are now at risk of diseases as county governments struggle to implement multimillion-shilling projects. The project funded by the African Development Bank was scheduled to be completed by June. The project faced challenges last year when locals became hostile and blocked the sewer line from passing through their land.

West Pokot is the only devolved unit that lacks a sewer line despite its high population. The future of the Sh400 million Kapenguria-Makutano sewer plant at Psigirio hangs in the balance after public opposition due to health concerns in West Pokot. Most of the towns affected are Kapenguria and Makutano, with a population of more than 80,000. The situation is worsened by frequent water shortages.

Solid waste collection is severely lacking in most parts as dirty water flows in open furrows. Raw sewage from Kapenguria and Makutano towns flows into nearby rivers, exposing locals to diseases. People downstream rely on the water for irrigation, animals and domestic use. One of the most affected is River Koturuk.Residents of Mawingo Road, Mathare, Chewoyet, Bendera and Lutheran bear the brunt of the crisis. Furthermore,Piped water from Kapenguria Water and Sewerage Company is unreliable as taps are often dry.

The stench hits you as you approach kiptambor street in Kabarnet Baringo County. Residents say they live in discomfort as Most families have young children, who risk their health daily at a nearby playground, most of which is covered with the sewage water. Even the dry pathways have traces of dirty water. Data from health centres in the affected areas shows that most patients are treated for amoeba, typhoid, cholera, bilharzia and malaria.

Mr Samuel Oruma, the acting chief executive of Central Rift Valley Water Works Development Agency, in charge of the project, said the community has refused to give out land. “There has been a lot of negative publicity by a section of leaders, who say it’s a taboo to live with human waste,” he said.

The multibillion-shilling project, involved extension of water supply to Kabartonjo, Kiboino, Kapkut, Kituro, Kabasis and Kaptorokwo towns, was expected to ease the perennial shortages in Baringo Central and Baringo North sub-counties.Kabarnet, the Baringo headquarters, has never had a sewer line since its inception and often relies on open lagoons, posing a health hazard to residents.

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