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Vacancy rate fuelling poor sanitation—Abida Mia

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Minister of Water and Sanitation Abida Mia has singled out the 80 percent vacancy rate in her ministry as one of the factors fuelling poor sanitation in cities and towns.

She said as a remedy, her ministry is engaging district and city councils to explore alternative ways that can, for the time being, help improve sanitation in cities and towns.

“We have people working in councils but they are supposed to be under water department. Now, we are working with the councils to ensure we have the right people for the work and ensure our cities and towns are clean…only healthy people contribute a lot to the development of the country,” Mia said.

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She was speaking after touring the 30.5 million US Dollar Nkhata Bay Water Supply and Sanitation Project.

The minister said the liquid waste facility that the Northern Region Water Board (NRWB) is constructing at Nkhata Bay District Hospital and one for solid waste at Nkhafu will help improve sanitation in Nkhata Bay, a district known for tourism.

NRWB board chairperson James Munthali said the sanitation component implemented under Nkhata Bay Water Supply and Sanitation Project will help to reduce cases of waterborne diseases, which were prevalent due to both poor liquid and solid waste management.

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“Our message is that this project is for people in Nkhata Bay. They are going to have clean water throughout and proper waste management facilities. Our advice is to let them take care of it,” Munthali said.

The project, now at 50 percent completion rate, is getting funding from African Development Bank Group, Opec Fund for International Development and Malawi Government.

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