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Friday, 18 July 2014 06:57

World Vision in sanitation and hygiene promotion in Ntcheu

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Ntcheu, July 18: The World Vision of Malawi has intensified efforts to promote sanitation and hygiene through behavioural change by awarding certificates and prizes to villages that are declared Open Defecation Free (ODF).

Speaking at the ceremony at T/A Phambala in Ntcheu, World Vision Cluster Manager for Ntcheu and Balaka, Asaph Muula said the issue of open defecation is a huge problem in Malawi, with limited numbers of households across the country having access to toilets.

“Behaviour is the number one issue, it’s not just getting people to build latrines-we need to change the mindset of communities,” said Muula.

Muula urged the villagers to make the project sustainable by contributing towards maintenance of the facilities that have been constructed such as boreholes and public toilets.

International health experts say the safe disposal of excreta and hygienic behaviour plays a key role in mitigating the risk of diarrhoea and other diseases, including cholera, dysentery, hepatitis, typhoid as well as intestinal parasites like giardia and worms.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Officer for Ntcheu Hospital, Madalitso Mmanga said efforts to stop open defecation are more effective when there is consensus and active participation among community members.

“Since the onset of the ODF project there has been a considerable decline in reported cases of water borne diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera and dysentery which is evidence that villagers are now adopting good sanitation habits,” added Mmanga.

The programme is being implemented in Karonga, Ntcheu and Balaka districts with plans to spread out to non-impact areas as well.

According to the World Health Organization, 1.2 billion people - 15 percent of the world’s population - practice open defecation. The majority of those without sanitation - 71 percent - live in rural areas and 90 percent of all open defecation takes place in rural areas.

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