Malawi asked to scale up  hygiene  efforts

WaterAid Regional Director for West Africa, Mariame Dem has noted that political will could make a difference in promoting and enhancing Global Hygiene.

Mariame Dem speaking at the conference in Lilongwe
Mwandsambo washes hands to mark the conference launch.-Photo by Roy Nkosi, Mana

She made the observation Monday during the sidelines of n a four day Water Aid Global Hygiene Conference which underway at Sunbird Capital Hotel in Lilongwe.

Dem said political will could easily influence in the programming of each country to ensure that more financial resources are invested in the promotion of hygiene activities.

She stated that countries tend to better more if they put muchemphasis on the promotion of hygiene issues thereby enable them to implement development programmes.

“If more investments are channeled into hygiene promotion in countries, it will mean there will be less spending in purchasing essential drugs to health facilities and hospital to treat water borne disease. This will mean more people will live a healthy life and able to participate in development work,” the Regional Director noted.

Dem said issues of water and sanitation needs to be given a priority in order to overcome some of the challenges that are being associated with.

“We need to provide potable water to communities for the issues of hygiene to be meaningful. Access to clan and potable water should be viewed as a number priority by our leaders always,” she added.

The Regional Director called for hygiene behavioural change among societies saying poor hygiene practices are contribute negatively to the spreading of water borne related diseases which could easily be prevented.

“Hygiene behaviours change should start right from the family and the spread top the entire communities so that people should enjoy the benefits at the end of the day,” she added.

Dem recalled that during her childhood, education hygiene was being promoted right from the home and schools but that tradition is no longer there due as a result of evolution of urbanization of most countries globally.

She said hygiene behaviour changes such as washing hands after visiting a toilet, clean face every morning, cleaning hand when preparing and giving food and cleaning our surrounding need to be revamped by various communities.

Water Aid Regional Director for Sothern Africa, Robert Kampala said hygiene behaviour change attitude among societies need to be conformity with the current situations.

“The achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 6.2 will largely depend on people’s change in mind set to accept and adopt their hygiene behaviour change attitudes.  Once communities and individuals attitudes change for the better, countries are bond to register credible results worth emulating,” he pointed out.

Kampala said the behaviour change would enable governments to spend less in procuring medicine for diseases which are hygiene related.

“This will give governments to plan more tangible development as a result of serving that will be made from the fruits of maintaining good hygiene behaviour practices,” he added.

Chief of Health Services in the Ministry of Health, Dr Charles Mwansambo said participants need to share experiences and learn from one another on how they could make people within communities adopt good new behaviours in hygiene.

“We know that it is good on one hand to have safe water and good sanitationinfrastructure. On the other hand, good hygiene behaviours are equally important because they complete the equation in the prevention of pathogens and diseases,” he stated.

He said as Ministry, they have strategiesin place through Health Education Section aimed at bringing about good hygiene behaviour change in order to prevent diseases includingWater Sanitationand Hygiene (WASH) related diseases.

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