Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

Donors, Govt agree on sanitation statistics

Pit toilets now considered improved
International organizations gathered under a Joint Monitory Program (JMP) have reached an agreement about Ethiopian sanitation statistics resolving a previous dispute with the government, Capital has learnt.
The agreement between the two sides will help Ethiopia remain on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals on sanitation and hygiene. 
Recently, the JMP from the WHO and UNICEF reported that only twelve percent of the population in 2008 had access to improved sanitation while it remained unimproved in forty percent of the cases. But the government figure has high difference when compared with the JMP percentage.
According to Ethiopia’s own study, access to basic sanitation is sixty percent. However even this study reports a range depending on the region.
Due to the disagreement the two sides had agreed to undertake a reassessment by the representatives selected from donors and the government.
The JMP and government officials have began holding talks last November about the issue. Officials from relevant government offices said they have finally reached agreement.
Manaye Seyum, expert at Ministry of Health, told Capital that the JMP agreed abort most of the government statistics after the reassessment. According to the expert, the JMP has accepted that a pit latrine (toilet) with slab constitutes improved sanitation because it is washable and cleanable. 
During the previous JMP assessment a pit latrine that was not constructed by concrete was considered to be an unimproved toilet. Donors also allowed for communal latrines after the reassessment. “Previously they considered that the communal latrines are a facility that provide service for many people in one area but based on our country’s context households that lived in one village have one toilet per household even if the toilets are constructed under a single building,” Manaye explained. 
He said that most of the data that supported the JMP report was not actual or timely. “That is the major basis for those data differences,” he added.
The official report will be released in April 2012 by the JMP. The country has allocated 414 million dollars for sanitation and hygiene improvement in the five year plan that will end in 2015, which is the final year to meet MDG targets.
The previous JMP report said Ethiopia was not on track to meet the millennium development goals in 2015.
Ethiopia has not allocated a direct budget for sanitation and hygiene. Now, however it plans to provide money during the second African sanitation conference in South Africa.