Malawi Environmental Health Association (MEHA) Conference and Annual General Meeting is underway in Mangochi where environmental health experts are deliberating on key issues affecting the country.
MEHA’s president, Dr Elias Chimulambe, said the meeting comes at a time when the country is facing environmental health problems but he was quick to say the conference will tackle the key challenges through the presentations and discussions.
“Environmental health is key in managing epidemics and diseases that are preventable. To manage that we need institutions that are dedicated to the cause. We are advocating for the department of environmental health within the Ministry of Health which will expedite the funding and execution of environmental health programmes,” said Dr Chimulambe.
On his part, the guest of honour, Sultan Chowe of Mangochi, applauded the government for its inclusive approach to dealing with health issues.
“Traditional leaders must not be left behind if we are to make progress in the health sector. Take for example how we have played a role to sensitise the masses on Covid 19 pandemic and how we have managed to support the containment of outbreaks like cholera. Never eliminate traditional leaders in the equation of health,” emphasised Sultan Chowe.
In his presentation titled ‘Assessing potential impacts of climate change on human health in Malawi’, Dr Geoffrey Chavula, from the Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (MUBAS) said climate change has taken a big toll on the population.
“We have several challenges facing the country emanating from climate change. As a country we are trying as evident with efforts in agriculture and other sectors. However there’s a need to repackage the messages which are scientific so that people in remotest parts of the country should not be left behind,” said Dr Chavula.
He further called on the government to consider continuous sensitisation among decision-makers in the environmental health sector on the emerging information and best practices around the world.
during discussion During the deliberations, Taonga Mwapasa, a research fellow with the Centre for Water, Sanitation, Health and Appropriate Technology Development (WASHTED) at MUBAS, disclosed that the country is also facing a challenge of Anti-Microbial Resistance. The study: ‘Community Exposure Assessment to Anti-Microbial Resistance’ traced the fertile grounds for the multiplication of the pathogens which include stagnant water, drains and leakages from latrines.
The study recommends the essence of investing adequate resources in one health, ( Animal, human and environmental) to mitigate the effects of cross-transfer of likely diseases.
This year’s conference is being held under the theme: “Environmental Health key to Attaining Sustainable Development Goals, Globally and Nationally.”