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Disease Outbreak

Open Defecation, a Problem for Harper Residents

Harper, Maryland County — Hundreds of residents of Nyekanba in Harper City are at the risk of contracting waterborne diseases due to the prevailing deplorable sanitary condition of the community.


Report By: Moses Geply in Harper, Maryland County


Situated on the bank of the Hoffman River, Nyekanbo Community is a densely populated slum community where inhabitants depend on artisanal fishing for livelihood.

The community lacks adequate toilet facilities, as a result, open defecation is the order of the day leaving the community vulnerable to the outbreak of cholera, diarrhea, typhoid fever, dysentery, and hepatitis A among other diseases.


Many of the public latrines are destroyed | Photo By: Moses Geply


Patrick Don Attiogbe is the community leader. He described the sanitation situation as “embarrassing and hazardous” to the health of residents.

“We are suffering too much in this community,” said Mr. Attiogbe, while attributing the poor sanitation to the lack of latrines.  He said it is also worrisome that community members would elect representatives and senators based on handouts instead of the commitment and ability to address challenges affecting their lives.


Attiogbe is the community chairman | Photo By: Moses Geply


The situation is alarming as malaria, diarrhea and other diseases are prevalent in the community, with children being the most affected.

In the absence of latrine facilities, Ms. Sarah Tweh said residents defecate in the Hoffman River and it is the same river where we go fishing, swimming, and even source water for some domestic purpose.

Another resident disclosed that makeshift toilets were built over the river particularly to protect the privacy of women and girls. And children, who are prevented from defecating in the river because of safety concerns, can be seen openly defecating in the community.

Some health workers have said that open defecation makes the community vulnerable to diseases outbreaks.


The poor sanitation of the community poses serious health risk to residents | Photo By: Moses Geply


 

Local Voices Liberia is a network of dedicated Liberian journalists based in the 15 counties working to lift the development concerns and progress of rural communities.

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