As health authorities in 20 districts in Malawi are now struggling to control Cholera outbreaks, the once frequent epicenter of major waterborne diseases, Kachulu area in Traditional Authority Mwambo in Zomba has for the past six years not recorded any case.
Kachulu Disease Control and Surviellance Assistant Cidreck Chitezi attributed the past outbreaks of cholera, typhoid and diarrhea to the then collapse of sanitation due to unsafe water sources.
“We are pleased to note that with the installation of chlorine dispensers since 2016, there have not been cholera outbreaks in Kachulu area,” observed Chitezi.
A resident in the area, Esnart Lupiya also confirmed, in a separate interview, that as community members they are now happy with initiatives being undertaken to ensure the area, which is near Lake Chilwa, has sustainable clean and safe water supply.
“There is behavior change through promotion of hand-washing culture with soap and drinking of well treated water,” confessed Lupiya who confirms this is a communal departure from unhealthy practices that exposed the area to waterborne disease outbreaks.
The success community health story, is courtesy of a non-governmental organization, Evidence Action which six years ago installed chlorine dispensers next to boleholes so that people access safe water.
The organisations’ Safe Water Program Associate Manager David Matabwa explained that promoting access to clean water has been their desired result in response to study findings by Innovation for Poverty Action.
“It was found that many people in Kachulu area were dying due to dieases as a result of unsafe water, that is why we made sure that treatment of water is done close to the water source to protect people from the risk of cholera,” explained Matabwa.
Matabwa further explained that chlorine dispensers provide a visual reminder to commumity members to use chlorine and are calibrated to deliver precise dose of chlorine solutions.
Water and Environmental Sanitation Network -WESN Executive Director Williest Mwandira has since commended Evidence Action, which started in Kenya and Uganda, for the intervantion which has helped to prevent cholera outbreaks and save lives of the community.
Mwandira extended this appeal: “They are doing a commendable job and there is need to scale up the initiative to many Cholera prone areas of the country so that communities are well protected.”