PROBLEMS WITH HOUSEHOLD HYGIENE

By NARMY RICHARD MWANBOZI – Art in Tanzania internship

The Tanzanian economy is poor and annual household income is low.  According to the world bank The Gross Domestic Product per capita in Tanzania was recorded at 985.50 US dollars in 2019. 

The GDP per Capita in Tanzania is equivalent to 8 percent of the world’s average, many people depend on seasonal jobs such as in agriculture, which is for survival, while others are totally unemployed. Agriculture is the key activity to many people in Tanzania since about 60 percent of citizens depends on it. 

Many households in Tanzania are poorly constructed and resulting to development of unplanned settlements in the towns. For example townships like Keko, Mbagala and Manzese in Dar es Salaam and Mwanjelwa and Mbalizi in Mbeya, that are dominated by unplanned settlements and poor infrastructure and supply of social services. Infrastructure as connectivity between houses is inefficient due to poor roads, water systems including sewage systems and safe and clean water supply.

Lack of clean water for drinking and cleaning conducts results to household dirtyness and causing contamination base for illnesses.

Also, waste removal is poor especially at the areas that were constructed at the time when the population was still small, but today are highly populated but still dependent on the original basic infrastructure lacking the capacity to manage the need of water and waste management.

Towns like Keko are prone to diarrheal diseases related to hygiene such as typhoid and cholera highlighted by rainy seasons. This is because excess rains reach household and spread the supply of waste including faeces.

People living in poverty their education is low and their knowledge of health and the importance of clean household management is a problem. People believe in witchcraft not necessarily understanding the serious health problems are caused by poor hygiene and sanitation. So there is need for advocating people along with infrastructural development.

Many Tanzanians fail to build good and healthy toilets because of their small income. Visiting some villages in Mbarali, Mbeya such as Itamboleo and Mapunga and observing that toilets are sub-standard or completely missing. The Itamboleo village council come up with a plan to ensure construction of proper toilets in the village and instructing that those failing to follow-up the plan must pay sanctions. The plan did not work properly as villagers blame, they do not have enough money to construct those toilets. Also, the mentality of the leaders is that toilets with septic tanks are the only safe toilets not being factual. 

Thus, we need to educate people in villages about healthy household with affordable cost.

Water supply in the Tanzania is gradually improving in many towns, such as in Mbeya rural districts, Northern regions of Tanzania and Dar es Salaam. But water supply is still a problem in many parts resulting to poor household hygiene and sanitation in Tanzania.

Along the major issues on household hygiene and sanitation smaller issues also largely affect our health. The kitchen appearance and settings is traditionally ineffective. Many households prepare their food in the kitchen full of dirtiness and storage of charcoal, food, and various kitchen appliances in the same place, the light supply is poor, and the kitchen may act as a place for rats and rodents to live thus spreading diseases.

Our bodies hygiene and sanitation are the key factors for our everyday success and activities. It is our choice to make a call for positive changes in household hygiene.