As government takes the fight against cholera to another level, regional and district water officers in the Ministry of Water and Sanitation converged in Mponela-Dowa, to share notes on trigger factors and the roles they are supposed to play to contain the outbreak.
Minister of Water and Sanitation Abida Mia, said drinking water from unsafe sources and unhygienic practices have worsened the situation on the ground.
She then urged the district water officers to provide up-to-date information to enable the government and the donor community to come up with appropriate interventions.
“This is a very important meeting and let me thank the World Bank through the Malawi Resilience and Disaster Risk Management Project for bringing together regional and district water officers. This will help us in determining the problems they are facing as regards water in their respective districts, in addition, the ministry needs to be aware of the percentages of water they have in those areas so that we can rectify them.
“We need to feed into M-Water which is a system that will determine how many boreholes are not working and how many need repairs,” said Mia.
The minister disclosed that the government plans to provide fresh piped water through projects that will rely on solar energy since some areas have salinity challenges.
Commenting on the minister’s sentiments, Peter Kadewere, Project Coordinator for Malawi Resilience and Disaster Risk Management, Peter Kadewere, said the project has interventions that are channeled toward the rehabilitation of boreholes.
“We have been supporting councils in the drilling of boreholes. As we are talking now the construction of 154 boreholes has been completed, we are also in the course to engage contractors to help us in the supply of rural gravity water systems in Nsanje, Thyolo, Mulanje, Balaka, Dedza, and Ntcheu. We thought of bringing the officers so they identify the gaps and plan together and as a project, we will know where exactly we should channel resources,” said Kadewere.
Wiseman Chimwaza, Epidemiology Officer from the Public Health Institute of Malawi in the Ministry of Health said, “The drivers of cholera have not changed its still lack of access to safe water and unhygienic practices. Unless we improve on these two factors then we can defeat the outbreak.
“All age groups are affected but leading on the statistics are those aged between 20-30 years. Normally this is the most active group and in the lakeshore districts most of the fishermen belong to this age group so more interventions are needed,” said Chimwaza.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health says a total of 1254 people have died from the disease while 1090 patients are still hospitalised.