Mangochi, Minister of Health, Dr. Peter Kumpalume, on Thursday honoured Traditional Authority (TA) Chilipa of Mangochi for attaining 100 percent Open Defecation Free (ODF) in all the villages under his jurisdiction.
The event of honouring Chilipa was held at Nikisi Primary School and it was marked by a number of activities among them, the minister’s touring of locally made sanitation facilities in Nikisi Village and later, the presentation of a certificate to the TA.
Accepting the honour, Chilipa said the achievement was a result of joint efforts between his traditional leaders and the implementers of the project which included Mangochi District Hospital and Mangochi District Council.
I am very proud of this honour and it means a lot to me and every household under my jurisdiction. It took a lot of effort at village, group and TA levels to ensure that no one ever defecate in the open anymore. As I speak, every household in all the 195 villages under my jurisdiction has a toilet that is well covered at all times, explained Chilipa.
He said throughout the four years the project had been under implementation, there had been no cases of cholera or any waterborne diseases in the area, a sure indication of how effective the initiative has been.
Presenting the certificate to Chilipa, Dr. Kumpalume said it was government’s desire to deal away with waterborne diseases once and for all in the country as that would exempt government from spending on treating illnesses that were preventable in the first place.
Kumpalume said it was high time Malawi as a nation graduated completely from water and sanitation worries and start talking development.
What TA Chilipa has achieved is development because by overcoming water and sanitation worries, every household will now focus on development as there will be no case of diseases which are detrimental to development, said Kumpalume.
The minister further urged the communities of Chilipa to always use the water and sanitation facilities they had erected saying owning a facility and using it were two different things.
He also noted that the country had not registered any case of cholera recently due to efforts of health workers throughout the country who had been promoting hygiene, water and sanitation practices among the communities.
The Chilipa ODF programme was implemented with support from the Icelandic International Development Agency (Iceida) and according to the Agency’s Senior Project Officer for Mangochi, Levi Soko, the project will now roll out to TAs Makanjira and Namavi for another period of four years.
Soko said Iceida was very impressed with the results of the project in TA Chilipa saying the District Council and the District Hospital used the financial support prudently.
On the sidelines of the event, TA Chilipa appealed to the minister to consider extending services of Chilipa Health facility as the Mangochi and Balaka district hospitals were very far away.
The TA also appealed for government to consider upgrading the Chilipa-Mbela-Balaka roads which he said was in very bad shape.
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA