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Government admits sanitation problem in cities

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The government has admitted that there is poor sanitation in cities, saying this is one of the factors that have led to the proliferation of cholera cases in Blantyre, Lilongwe and other cities.

Escalating cholera cases prompted the Presidential Taskforce on Covid and Cholera to suspend for two weeks the opening of primary and secondary schools in Blantyre and Lilongwe cities.

The schools opened last week.

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Speaking at Civic Offices in Blantyre on Friday, when Water for People donated items worth K8 million as one way of addressing cholera-related challenges, Water and Sanitation Deputy Minister John Bande said sanitation can be used as a tool for fighting cholera.

“There is an urgent need to address sanitation challenges which include poor drainage systems, dumping of waste in open spaces and lack of garbage-collection trucks for us to win the fight against cholera.

“Residents in the four cities are at risk of contracting hygiene-related diseases due to poor hygiene practices in markets and other public places. Garbage-collection trucks in cities are not enough to collect all waste materials,” he said.

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Bande said, for this reason, the government was looking forward to working with non-State actors to address problems such as cholera.

Water for People Country Director Ulemu Chiluzi said they felt duty-bound to reach out to Blantyre City Council because they are worried with the persistent nature of the cholera outbreak.

“We are trying to respond to the problem of cholera cases that are being registered in Malawi considering that Blantyre is second to Mangochi, in terms of the number of cholera cases. As such, we thought it wise to, as an organisation that is working in the water and sanitation sector, do something. We do not want to continue seeing people dying from cholera,” he said.

The donated items included hand-washing buckets, chlorine and soap. The items will be distributed to cholera hotspot areas and public institutions including schools.

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