Drone mapping exercise, which Unicef conducted last week in Lilongwe has revealed high levels of poor sanitation in townships as evidenced by broken latrines and heaps of refuse in public places and blind corners.
The exercise was conducted in Chinsapo, Chigwirizano and Area 24, where Unicef engaged residents to sensitise them on risks of cholera due to poor sanitation.
The country is grappling with a cholera outbreak which has claimed six lives of which five have died in Lilongwe, according to Ministry of Health.
This follows the death of one more person on Tuesday while 11 new cases have been recorded in the capital city and that 15 people are in quarantine.
After the drones surveyed and took images of the communities and have them printed the community members were excited to see the results and showed willingness to do something about the refuse and malfunctioning toilets in public places.
Associate director responsible for data and analytics at Unicef, Mark Hereward, who was present during the exercise said the drone mapping exercise was being done with the view of addressing problems that may arise because of the sanitation question.
He said: “We are involving the community in this exercise so that the people know and understand the magnitude of the problem, and together we are drawing up an action plan which they are willingly adopting for implementation to address the situation.”
The exercise has been necessitated by the cholera outbreak which has hit urban communities as much as rural communities despite most urban dwellers being perceived as having access to sanitation information.
Among the community members were traditional and religious leaders and graduates from the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar).
According to Hereward, the drone mapping technology is going to be of great help in the fight against cholera and other emergencies in the country.
“What I have seen here is something that will allow us to deal with the horrible cholera epidemics and other emergencies and many different things that afflict us as climate change is bringing more and more climate related emergencies such as floods and drought.” n