MBARARA – Students at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) have decried the lack of safe water for drinking and good sanitation in the university arguing that it has exposed them to health risks and have launched a campaign to avert the crisis.
These launched a safe drinking water and good sanitation campaign on Wednesday that aims at installing water filters and purifiers in the university and the hospital plus ensuring that the environment is also clean.
Derina Atuhwere, a third-year student and the president of the integrity ambassadors club said that the campaign targets the vulnerable students who find a challenge in accessing safe water for drinking.
She noted that not all students have the capacity to buy bottled drinking water every day especially in this dry season.
“So far in the whole university we don’t have any water point where students can access safe drinking water, those that cannot afford buying bottled water find themselves taking unboiled water directly from the water taps, if a student has no money, he or she cannot get water for drinking until maybe when he returns home, we realized as Integrity club that this is a crisis that should be brought to an end,” said Atuhwere.
She, however, noted that they could not wait for the university to provide them with everything hence a move to provide water filters and purifiers that will be provided to each faculty in the university.
Annu Amanjot the minister of foreign affairs under Integrity ambassadors club who also works with United SIKHS from the United States said they realized that both the University and Mbarara regional referral hospital which operates in the same vicinity have no water purifiers which expose both patients and students to high risks of drinking unsafe water.
“It feels bad when a patient comes to the hospital for treatment and end up taking unsafe water, that patient can end up contracting other diseases because some cannot afford buying bottled water every day even students some are incapable. This project had been started before but it lacked support, so we decided to resurrect the project.” Amanjot revealed.
She assured that they have already gotten donors who are going to be bringing these purifiers and water filters in the university and that each will be costing shs1.5m.
“It’s very absurd to find that such big institution which has also a hospital does not have safe water points for vulnerable patients and students to access drinking water and even the environment is not clean which has a negative impact on the health of students and the image of the institution”
She confirmed that these water filters will be coming in at the end of February and will be installed in each faculty to avert the crisis.
Julius Kalugu also a student at MUST echoed the same that the institution is composed of various students from different background where some cannot afford buying water and have to depend on tap water which is unsafe.
“Like these days, the weather is very hot and our bodies need a lot of water, some students you find them in the lecture rooms dozing because their bodies are dehydrated, that student will not grasp what is being taught, therefore to keep our fellow students fresh and clean, that’s the initiative we are coming up” said Kalugu.
Mike Katongole the guild president MUST say that safe water is one of the basic need which everyone should have in the current developing world. He added that it’s not a good trend to find a university student struggles to get water for drinking like those in the villages.
“Sometimes its very hard for a student to sustain shs2000 for drinking water because as scientists we believe water composes the biggest percentage of a human body, and its advisable that at least a man should take 2liters, therefore we want to pilot this project so that after here every learning institution has free access to safe drinking water.”
Dr. Celestine Barigye the Mbarara regional referral hospital director commended the campaign however noted that these purifiers shall be subjected to approval to ensure that the water they release is safe and free from germs.