Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) has asked people in Mzimba to ensure every family has safe water and improved sanitation facilities.
On Sunday, the humanitarian organisation sensitised communities in Eswazini to the importance of modern toilets and safe water to prevent waterborne diseases.
MRCS integrated community-based healthcare project officer Clement Kolovi said the country is struggling with cholera, which has affected 626 people and killed 12 in 13 districts, because of poor hygiene.
He urged families and schools to migrate from temporary latrines to modern toilets with drop-covers.
“When we rolled out the project in Traditional Authority (T/A) Kampingo Sibande three years ago, access to potable water, sanitation and hygiene was at 30 percent. This means 70 percent of people were at risk of contracting cholera and other diseases fuelled by poor sanitation and unprotected drinking water,” explained Kolovi.
He urged communities and school authorities to take the lead to achieve total sanitation.
Group village head Robema Sibande warned against open defaecation in the rural locality.
““Mzimba has not registered a cholera case. Still, we need to change. Government is spending millions treating cholera patients,” he said.
Ministry of Health reports that sanitation-related infections account for 53 percent of patients treated in the country’s health facilities.
In T/A Kampingo Sibande, Red Cross is running a community-led integrated project to improve access to water, sanitation and hygiene in communities and schools.
According to district environmental health officer Bestido Nkhoma, 49 percent of households in Mzimba have improved sanitation facilities. n