Learners studying community health nursing at Ekwendeni College of Health Sciences in Mzimba have exposed various health hazards in Baula Village in Mzimba North East, located 24 kilometres away from Ekwendeni Trading Centre.
The students carried out a community diagnosis in the Village to assess attitudes towards health services and issues; analyse the health status of the community; evaluate health resources and services and systems of care within the community and to establish baseline for measuring improvement overtime.
The students found that there were many challenges in the village ranging from housing, environmental sanitation, health services, education and food among others.
For example, of the 141 households where the survey was conducted, it was found that 40 percent of the people keep animals in the same houses where they sleep for fear of theft, thereby exposing themselves to infections and ticks.
It was also found that six percent of the houses in the village have no windows. And of the 94 houses with windows, 54 percent houses have windows that cannot be opened, leading to no or poor ventilation.
The research also revealed that 28 percent of the households do not have pit latrines. Of the available 72 percent latrines, 48 percent were not covered and 34 percent were not well taken care of.
“All rubbish pits in each household are less than 100 metres away from the house with a depth of less than two metres. When these rubbish pits are full, 44 percent of the households burn the litter while 20 percent bury it and 35 percent use it as manure. This indicates that there is poor refuse disposal in this village,” reads the survey report.
Team leader for the students, Florence Chisunkha, said the nearest Emsizini Health Centre is 10 kilometres away from the village and the people said most of the times essential drugs are not available and that patients usually are not attended to because officers go for other meetings.
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