Only 14 out of every 100 people in Phalombe district use soap whenever they are washing their hands after visiting the toilet, the district’s health office has confirmed.
Phalombe District Health Officer (DHO) Ketwin Kondowe revealed this in an interview with Malawi24 during the commemoration of World Toilet Day at Linguni Primary School ground on Monday afternoon.
The DHO added that 54 percent of people remember to wash their hands with either soap or not thereby avoiding Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) related diseases.
“Our latrine coverage is at 70 percent which is below the national coverage. Those who wash hands is at 54 percent but hand washing using soap we are at 14 percent,” said Kondowe.
Kondowe added by disclosing that 50 percent of the cases of diseases which people report to the hospitals are WASH related and if people can join then money meant for medication can be saved.
“If we strengthen WASH intervention you find that we will save a lot of money that we use on drugs, that is why it is very important that the ministry and other key stakeholders are emphasizing much on WASH,” concluded Kondowe.
Before the event there was a handover ceremony of toilets to Linguni Primary School which have been constructed by the United Purpose (UP), an organisation which is working tirelessly in matters concerning WASH in the district.
UP’s Monitoring and Evaluation officer Marine Pemba said the organisation thought it wise to help in ensuring that public institutions and different homes have toilets thereby avoiding cases of cholera.
“You can see that before coming of UP with this initiative there were high cases of cholera when rainy season came but since we started encouraging this we have seen an improvement on cholera as sometimes cases are low and even not happen,” she said.
Meanwhile, area of traditional authority Jenala has been declared open defecation free but three other traditional authorities are yet to be declared.