WEST AFRICA: Cleaner toilets to save slums from cholera

August 16, 2012

"Aid agencies are scrambling to treat thousands of cholera patients in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, where the number of infections is mounting by over 250 per day. Most patients are from the city’s various urban slums, where open defecation is rife, toilets are rare, sewage is improperly disposed of, and awareness of cholera is very low. Water and sanitation specialists say unless these problems are addressed, cholera will continue to flourish both in Sierra Leone and throughout West Africa...In Guinea, just one or two aid agencies - Action Against Hunger and UNICEF - work on cholera prevention with the government...An urban WASH consortium - made up of NGOs Oxfam, Action Against Hunger, Save the Children, GOAL, and Concern - charged with helping the government improve sanitation in Freetown’s slums, has decided that improving and rebuilding public toilets is the only option, but keeping them clean is the real challenge, said Marc Faux, the group coordinator."