The Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development has dared the country’s five water boards to provide the safest water if the battle against cholera is to be won.
The ministry’s Principal Secretary Grey Nyandule Phiri expressed the sentiments at Mponela in Dowa yesterday when he officially opened the 8th National Water Conference ahead of the commemoration of World Water Day today (March 22) under the theme Nature-based Solutions for Water.
He said this year’s cholera outbreak is so severe that there is need for stakeholders in the water and sanitation sector, especially the water boards to provide safe drinking water to consumers.
Said Nyandule Phiri: “I sincerely hope that at the end of this conference, we will come out with the best ways to contain cholera. I, therefore, urge you the water boards to ensure giving people safe water.”
He said there is need for the water boards to put words into action than just dwelling on publicity; hence, telling them to put structures that should bring sanitation services to all Malawians.
“About 80 percent of diseases that we encounter are waterborne so if we do something to address this we can win the war on cholera which has claimed a lot of lives,” he said.
To date, cholera has killed 25 people with over 770 accumulated cases, most of which have been recorded in Lilongwe and Karonga.
Unicef Malawi country representative Johannes Wedenig told The Nation during a visit to one cholera-affected community at Mitengo, Traditional Authority (T/A) Kalumba in Lilongwe that the primary cause of the disease was unsafe water and poor hygiene as people are drinking water from unprotected sources.
Malawi has five water boards, namely Blantyre, Lilongwe, Northern Region, Central Region and Southern Region. This year’s World Water Day celebration is being hosted by Central Region Water Board.