Minister of Health Atupele Muluzi has hailed communities of traditional authorities (T/As) Chowe, Namavi and Chiunda in Mangochi District for embracing good sanitary practices, observing that this has helped the lakeshore district to be resilient against the risk of water-borne diseases and attaining Open Defecation Free (ODF) status, bringing the number of TAs with the status in the country to 86.
Presenting certificates to the three TAs at a function held at Chimbende Primary School in TA Chowe in the district, Muluzi said time has come for every Malawian family to own and use a toilet to avoid preventable diseases such as cholera.
The minister said the three TAs had demonstrated good leadership in mobilizing their subjects to embrace the interventions by Hygiene Village Project and Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS), the two entities behind the successful ODF status in the three traditional leaders.
“I’d like to thank the three TAs for working tirelessly to achieve the status we are celebrating today. It has taken a lot of determination on the part of the chiefs and their people, and by achieving the ODF status, the three TAs are likely to keep diseases such as cholera away,” said the minister.
Muluzi said it was very painful to see people dying of preventable diseases such as cholera, which he said had claimed 12 people in the country since it broke out on October 24, 2017 in Karonga District.
The minister added that it was very encouraging to note that Mangochi had not registered any cholera case since the outbreak. He then urged chiefs and health personnel in the district to work in collaboration to maintain the cholera free status.
Muluzi also hailed MRCS and Hygiene Village Project for partnering with the government in ending open defecation in the country.
“About fifty per cent of the diseases in our hospitals are preventable and if we can hold hands with organizations such Malawi Red Cross Society and Hygiene Village Project to intensify hygiene and sanitation, we can reduce the burden of diseases in our hospitals by half,” said Muluzi.
Hygiene Village Project Executive Director, Roy Khonyongwa, hailed the people from the three local authorities and health workers whom he said were on the fore front in implementing the project.
Khonyongwa said the ODF status was achieved through a process called Community Led Total Sanitation where communities took a leading role in identifying gaps in hygiene and sanitation in their villages and found solutions to overcome the challenges on their own.
MRCS President, Levison Changole, said his organization and Hygiene Village Project had been able to achieve its goals in TAs Chowe and Chiunda through good collaboration with government health structures both at district and community levels.
He appealed to communities in the three areas not to relent but maintain the achieved status even after the supporting organizations pulled out from the communities.
Accepting the certificate, Sultan Chowe said it was very exciting to be among the TAs with no open defecation tendencies. However, he appealed to government to consider sinking boreholes in the three TAs to complement the ODF efforts.
Earlier, the minister visited two sample homes with well covered pit latrines and hand washing apparatus at Mpondagiya where he was briefed on how members of the households used their toilets.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :