—–Visiting Chief, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Associate Director for Programs, Sanjay Wijesekera, has described Macha area’s attainment of Open Defection Free (ODF) zone as inspiring.
Mr Wijesekera says many countries are still facing the problem of open defection across the world.
He cited some countries in European, Asian and parts of America as areas still facing the problem despite being considered as wealthy countries.
He said this when he paid a courtesy call on Chief Macha at his palace
before conducting a tour of communities in the area yesterday.
The WASH director was also accompanied by Chief of Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene
Movement in Zambia, Nicolas Osbert.
Mr Osbert noted that open defection remains a difficult challenge for a lot of countries as they have continued to struggle to bring the problem under control.
He stated that the area’s attainment of a free zone in teams of open defection makes government convinced that the monies are being put to good use and pledged continued support from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in teams of mobilising resources for Community Led Total Sanitation in the area.
And Chief Macha has called on government to consider increasing the budget allocation for water and sanitation.
The traditional leader said more than two million people lack safe drinking water in the country, especially in rural areas and that more needs to be done in order to arrest the situation.
He said unsafe drinking water contributes to high child mortality rate in the country and low performance at school as well.
He explained that Mocha’s attainment of Open Defecation Free (ODF) status has seen malaria and water borne diseases dwindle in his chiefdom.
Chief Macha stated that currently only five chiefdoms in Southern province besides his have reached the ODF status among them are chief Mapanza, Chief Mukobela and Chief Choona.
He noted that some other chiefs have also shown interest in attaining ODF status in the near future.
“We have 288 chiefs in the country and it is their duty to drive sanitation issues to the maximum in their areas.
“Another issue that needs to be looked into is the issue of Champions who are few in number. These are the people who are trained to collect data in various chiefdoms and push the CLTS agenda forward,” he said.
Macha area has a total population of 40,000 and 115 villages.