Lack of latrines irks Lazarus Chakwera
President Lazarus Chakwera has expressed concern over lack of latrines and their low usage among Malawians, saying the development has fuelled the outbreak of cholera.
The President said this in Lilongwe at Mgona Community Ground, where he presided over the launch of a cholera campaign.
He said it is unfortunate that only about 40 percent of households have toilets.
The President added that nothing the government does would stop cholera spread if communities do not change their behaviour to adhere to preventive measures.
“The current situation, where less than 60 percent of Malawians have a toilet, is not acceptable. We are human beings with dignity, not animals that can just use any place as a toilet. If any place is not a toilet, don’t treat it as a toilet.
“And a toilet is not something that is given to you by the government, or something that is donated from abroad, or something that comes down from heaven. It is something you give yourself as a human being because you respect yourself as being better than an animal,” Chakwera said.
According to him, most of the deaths arising from cholera are occurring in communities or at health facilities because people are seeking treatment for cholera late.
Chakwera also called on the private sector to come up with resources to support the government’s life-saving efforts.
Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda encouraged people to adhere to preventative measures, echoing the President’s message that every life lost is precious.
“Let us try our best to prevent cholera. If that fails, then go to a healthcare service facility,” she said.
Speaking earlier, Paramount Chief Kawinga lamented that many areas, including markets, fail to adhere to standard hygiene and sanitation practices, leading to rising cases of cholera.
Before the launch, Chakwera visited Area 25 Health Centre in Lilongwe, which was vandalised by some irate community members from Mgona last week.
The community members vandalised the facility following the death of a community member who accessed treatment services at the health centre.
Speaking on behalf of healthcare workers at Area 25 Health Centre, Tifera Phiri said employees are traumatised and still living in fear because they are still getting threatening messages.
Mathews Kasanda is a journalist who holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Malawi (The Polytechnic).
In 2015, Media Institute of Southern Africa awarded him the Best Print Media Education Journalist of the Year accolade.
He joined Times Group Newsroom in September 2019.