Minister of Health Atupele Muluzi has commended traditional leaders and communities for their contribution to the attainment of open defecation free (ODF) status in the country.
Speaking when he declared Traditional Authority (T/A) Kaphaizi, Sub-T/As Mphomwa and Mangwazu on Wednesday in Kasungu, the minister said communities and traditional leaders can do more in preventing ill-health.
“It is very encouraging to see that this ODF programme is community-based making sure that the communities and their leaders are taking important roles,” he said.
Unicef has supported Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (Wash) initiatives that have helped T/As attain ODF status.
Unicef communications officer Doreen Matonga said Malawi can achieve 100 percent ODF status, but it all depends on empowering the traditional leaders and communities to understand why they need sanitation facilities.
ST/A Mangwazu said after his area faced a cholera outbreak in the 2015/16 rainy season, he chose to be a champion of good sanitation and hygienic practices.
“I lost about three people out of 26 [registered] cholera cases. When health officials approached us, we welcomed the initiative,” said ST/A Mangwazu.
Out of 30 chiefs in Kasungu district, 12 have achieved ODF status