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Government says Malawi has made progress on water access

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Secretary for Water and Sanitation Joseph Magwira has said Malawi has registered significant progress towards meeting Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Number 6 as 87.9 percent of the population in the country reportedly has access to improved sources of drinking water.

Magwira said this during a Global Water Leadership (GWL) Programme Stakeholders meeting in Lilongwe Wednesday.

SDG 6 talks about ensuring access to water and sanitation for all.

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“Despite strides in improving availability of safe water, about 27 percent of the population walk for over an hour to access safe water,” Magwira said.

According to the principal secretary, 80 percent of the population in Malawi is now using improved sanitation facilities.

He, therefore, said government is ready to fully support the implementation of the GWL Programme in the country

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Coordinator of the Africa Water Investment Programme in Malawi under the GWL programme, Deborah Muheka, warned that tropical cyclones Ana and Gombe have the potential to reverse the gains made on the SDG.

“In Malawi, 52 percent of the total disease burden is said to be caused by sanitation-related factors. Diarrhoea alone accounts for seven percent of under-five deaths.

“While this is disheartening, the country has been vigilant to scale up efforts to resolve water and sanitation challenges and ensure we move towards meeting SDG 6 which covers water and sanitation, by 2030,” Muheka said.

She added that the government has to demonstrate high level political will and advocate for increased financial resources for the sector to make progress.

The World Bank estimates that Cyclone Idai in 2019 destroyed water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure worth $3.8 million (K3.9 billion).

The national stakeholder consultation comes after three regional consultative meetings where the Global Water Partnership engaged sector players to understand challenges at local level and align them with those that may be identified at this national platform.

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