Reports are rife that most households in Mzimba are still sqauting among the few trees and bushes and defecate in the open despite various interventions by government and stakeholders in hygiene and sanitation.
Recent statistics by Mzimba District Health Office show that only 15 per cent of the households have toilets in their homes while the rest practice open defecation.
Speaking during the open day conducted week-end by Word Alive Commission for Relief and Development (WACRAD) at Edingeni on hygiene and sanitation, District Environmental Health Officer (Mzimba South District Health Office), Chimwemwe Jera, said most people in the district do not see the importance of having latrines.
He said the situation is against the background of frequent sensitization and various interventions by both government and stakeholders on sanitation and hygiene.
According to Jera, the culture of drinking beer amongst the Ngoni men of the district also contributes to numerous households having no pit-latrines, saying men do not have time for construction of toilets.
“The issue of latrines is not impressive in Mzimba as the majority still practice open defecation and, I feel, there is need for quick behavioral change interventions and collaborative efforts by all stakeholders to curb the malpractice,” said Jera.
He said government is trying to empower the people to use locally available resources to construct pit-latrines.
Out of 2000 villages in the district, 230 have been reached with the initiative of toilet construction with local materials, which is hoped to change the current situation.
WACRAD Project Officer, Malani Nyirenda, said his organization is implementing the hygiene and sanitation programme at Edingeni, to improve health conditions and status of people in the area.