European Union (EU) and Irish Aid have pumped in K700 million (about $2.8 million) into a Concern Universal Health and Water Project in Dedza to stop open defecation and ensure improved access to safe water in the district.
In a statement issued on Friday, Concern Universal programmes manager Masauko Mthunzi said the five-year project, which started in 2011, is being implemented to reach 71 500 people.
â€œThe overall objective of the project is improved access to and management of sustainable safe water supply and sanitation facilities. The project will improve access to clean water from an average of 31 percent to 90 percent coverage based on the government standards.
â€œThe project will also assist up to 50 percent of the families in the target areas to construct, install and use improved pit latrines. Improved latrine coverage at baseline was three percent,â€ said Mthunzi.
He said apart from the households, the project will also provide sanitation facilities and safe water in 31 schools, six markets and four health centres.
â€œThe two areas with residents from 293 villages were prioritised due to their pressing need for safe water supply and sanitation facilities and high prevalence of waterborne diseases,â€ said Mthunzi, adding that they will construct 140 boreholes and upgrade 10 shallow wells in the areas, among others.
Group village head Majamanda said several children and women in his area have died because of diarrhoea. He added that some of his subjects have been drawing water from streams where livestock also drink.