Mungwi, October 16, 2014, ZANIS….Northern Province has continued to record high cases of diarrhea and respiratory infections due to poor hygiene practices among households.
Northern Province Permanent Secretary Hlobotha Nkunika has disclosed that the incidences of diarrhea in under five children was seven times higher than those aged five years and above.
Mr. Nkunika said according to a statistical bulletin by the provincial medical health office in Kasama, the incidences of pneumonia and diarrhea have increased from 23 per 1000 population in 2009 to 38 per 1000 lives in 2011 a situation he described as saddening.
ZANIS reports that the Permanent Secretary was speaking to mark this year’s commemoration of the global hand washing day held at Ngulula Primary School in Mungwi yesterday.
Mr. Nkunika said according to the base line survey of August 2014 conducted in Mungwi, Luwingu, Kasama and Mporokoso by Netherlands Development Cooperation (SNV) 99 percent of households do not wash their hands after using the toilet, before preparing food and before eating.
He said further that in Mungwi district alone, 83 percent of households were practicing open defecation and did not have toilets.
Mr. Nkunika said research in various developing countries illustrates that lack of soap was usually not a barrier with the vast majority being poor households but that the problem has always been the poor attitude of people towards using soap for hand washing.
He said there was need to educate the masses to make available hand washing facilities at their households at least within 10 steps proximity to encourage people to wash their hands at critical times.
The hand washing day was initiated in 2008 by the global public –private partnership for hand washing with soap.
In Northern Province, the event was held in Mungwi district where various good hygiene practices were showcased in order to raise the awareness levels among the people so that they can adopt good sanitation behavior and reduce the incidences of diarrheal diseases in the region.
Various cultural groups spiced-up the event through drama performances and the Malole brass band took the show with music.
The event was also attended by international dignitaries from cooperating partners from the Netherlands and Burkina Faso.