Government says Open Defecation Free Programs vital for development

Chikwawa, The Ministry of Health has indicated that the Open Defecation Free (ODF) program being championed across the country is helpful as it promotes healthy living among the communities.

Chief Director, Responsible for Administration in the Ministry of Health, Beston Chisamile, made the remarks Friday in Chikwawa District when he declared Traditional Authority (T/A) Makhuwira Open Defecation Free.

Chisamile said when a T/A is declared ODF, it means the community is engaged in proper sanitation which also leads to the reduction in waterborne related diseases in that particular area.

ODF in Chief Makhuwira was achieved with the support from various stakeholders such as Plan Malawi, Development Aid from People to People (DAPP), Water Supply and Sanitation Collaboration Council (WSSCC) and Global Sanitation Fund among others.

Issues of sanitation and hygiene are not only for the Ministry of Health, but rather for both government institutions and the development partners. You can see the partnership that is there between government of Malawi, DAPP, Plan Malawi and other development partners, said Chisamile adding that he hopes all T/As in the country become ODF.

On his part, Thoko Kaitane, who is in-charge of WASH programs at Plan Malawi said the ODF activities were yielding positive results citing that Chikwawa is one of the districts affected by climatic challenge but with the movement that has been going on about sanitation, it is very clear that there is a significant reduction in water borne diseases.

We are happy because we are contributing to the development of this country, we are aware that when people are not sick they are able to participate in developmental works in the country and we are happy that Chikwawa is among those few districts, said Kaitane.

On his part, Amakhosi Jere, Senior Grants Administration Specialist at DAPP which also helped T/A Mulilima to be declared ODF said they worked hard to ensure that the areas in which they worked were declared ODF.

Commenting on the development, T/A Makhuwira said he would ensure that all his subjects are following good hygiene practices in order to prevent water borne diseases in Chikwawa.

He asked government to expand Makhuwira Health Centre which he said was too small to serve people from three districts of Chikwawa, Thyolo and Nsanje besides ensuring that drugs were available at the facility.

Makhuwira area which has a population of approximately 77, 443 people is the fifth to be declared ODF apart from Mulilima, Chapananga, Masache and Ngowe in Chikwawa district.

So far, 46 T/As out of 263 have been declared ODF in the ongoing sanitation and hygiene program in the country.

Source: Malawi News Agency � MANA