USER-FRIENDLY PIT LATRINES FOR OLDER PERSONS

“Leave no one behind, promoting a society for all”
Many households in Entebbe in particular and in Uganda as a whole have a pit latrine for use as a laboratory. Unfortunately these pit latrines do not provide sitting facilities and can only be used while squatting. As we grow older squatting becomes more difficult especially when getting up after using a pit latrine as their bones, joints and muscles are no longer able to respond as easily as when the individual was younger.
The  Uganda National Policy for Older Persons launched in 2009 by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development acknowledged that “pit latrines are not user-friendly as older persons usually have squatting problems” and, whereas the National Plan of Action for Older Persons 2011 – 2016 envisages “a society where older persons are living in a secure and a dignified environment that fulfills their needs and aspirations”, Older Persons comfort and convenience when using pit latrines have been totally and conspicuously ignored and need to be addressed which would be the purpose of this project.
During our outreaches we have found that for some older persons the movement of squatting, even briefly, is a painful ordeal. This pain and discomfort has been found to create a situation where older persons are delay the use of the latrine or are discouraged from it when they need to and consequently leading to digestive and other health complications.
As an Organization that speaks for and articulates issues affecting Older Persons, HENU is involved in advocating for interventions intended to address hygiene and sanitation practices in households headed or occupied by older persons. A great deal of focus and attention is also being directed at addressing other concerns affecting Older Persons including, but are not limited to, social protection, productivity and income generation, health care, food security and nutrition.
The effect of this intervention will invariably lead to a healthier older person population with improved sanitation, gastric and metabolic activity thereby improving their well-being and lifestyle.
AIM OF THE PROJECT

The project is intended to re-design existing pit latrines and provide a blueprint for future pit latrines that are user-friendly and specifically target Older Person’s comfort and ease of use. It is estimated that there are nearly two million Older Persons in Uganda, a number that is rising steadily. A good number of these Older Persons face urinary and bowel incontinence and find it difficult to hold back the need to use a toilet or contain the pressure once the need to ease themselves. Neither do they want to embarrass themselves in soiling themselves in public or around an audience.100 Older Person’s households from Entebbe Sub-District will benefit from this project. The beneficiaries will be selected from Kigungu, Kiwafu, Lunyo, Katabi, Kitubulu, Kabale, Bunono, Lyamutundwe, Kitala, and Bugonga.  Community Volunteers, Local Council Leaders and leaders of older persons groups will be engaged as key persons in identifying beneficiaries for the project.

JUSTIFICATION

Having a latrine and not using it does not lead to health benefits anticipated by its existence. A latrine provides the primary barrier against the spread of fecal matter and the source of most diarrheal pathogens in the environment.  This barrier can be easily breached if some members of a community do not have latrines or if people do not use the existing latrines. When older persons do not use latrines or use them in the wrong manner sanitation is compromised which does not affect them only, but the entire house-hold.
GOALS OF THE PROJECT
  • To ease the discomfort, pain and/or difficulty experienced by Older Persons when using pit latrines
  • To reduce the anxiety and trepidation associated with the onset of the urge to use the latrine, and replace it with a sense of anticipated relief at using the facility thereby promoting good hygiene and environmental sanitation
  • To promote proper use of the pit latrine through proper positioning and reduce the chances of messing up the facility in the hurry to get done quickly to avoid further discomfort
  • To ensure that the facility can be easily cleaned and waste directed accordingly
  1. SPECIFIC PROJECT OBJECTIVES
  • Re-design at least one section of existing pit latrines in a household where older persons live by fixing a ceramic pan on top of the hole where the older person will seat to ease her/himself with ease
  • Construct fixtures on walls that one can hold onto to lift themselves up from a squatting position.
(ii)        Advocate for user friendly toilets for older person in a wider community

some of the toilets that have been re-design by HENU to make them user friendly to our seniors

 

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