A study by Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) has indicated that Rwanda needs 70,000 latrines, for people to stop easing themselves in the open.
The details of the study conducted early this year was made public during the ongoing third Sanitation and Hygiene Conference (AfricaSan 3).
The figures, however, indicate that Rwanda has the least number of people on the continent, 1 percent of the population, who do not have latrines.
According to the communication specialist at WSP, Toni Sittoni, Rwanda should address the issues of sanitation inequality through specific strategies and prioritise the elimination of open daefecation.
“For Rwanda to eliminate open defaecation, it would require at least 70,000 latrines to be built and used. The study indicates that each person practising open defecation spends almost 2.5 days a year finding a private location to defaecate, which leads to an economic loss of about US$800,000,” he said.
The development came at a time when the government has put measures in place to deal with cases of sanitation like open defaecation.
The coordinator of the Environmental Health Desk at the Ministry of Health, Joseph Katabarwa said that the government has put in place the community-based environment health promotion program to address all forms of sanitation difficulties.
“We have so far rolled out this program in five districts and we intend to reach out to all parts of the country. We are using the people to solve their own problems,” said Katabarwa.
He added that; “at the end of the program in 2012, we want to have a society free from open defaecation. This is going to be very possible since there is strong political will.”
However, the same report indicates that Rwanda is among nine African countries that have clear sanitation policies in place and among the four sub-Saharan countries on track to achieve the MDG on sanitation.
Other financial losses mentioned in the report include the US$200,000 lost annually due to productivity losses whilst sick or accessing healthcare, US$1.9million spent on health care annually and annual sanitation related funerals that cost about US$500,000.