UNICEF Sanitation and Hygiene Specialist, Gaelle Fohr, says lack of access to improved sanitation contributes to a high prevalence of diarrhea and other water-borne diseases.
Ms Fohr adds that poor sanitary health practices impact on malnutrition and low quality learning environments for millions of children in rural areas which results in high absenteeism as well as increased school dropout rates, especially for girls.
She says more than two thousand; eighty hundred and thirty seven villages in the forty three identified districts are now free from open defecation free.
Ms Fohr has also revealed that Zambia has been accorded the privilege to host the sub-regional meeting for the Southern Region in Lusaka next month which will bring together stakeholders from twelve countries to discuss sanitation issues.
She says the purpose of the meeting is to provide an opportunity for countries to reveal progress on their sanitation action plans as well as providing an opportunity for peer learning and knowledge sharing with other countries within the region.