Ministry of Health says the Open Defecation Free (ODF) programme implemented under Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) project has assisted the country to so far record no Cholera case this rainy season.
Minister of Health Dr Peter Kumpalume said this Friday during the certification of Traditional Authority Mphonde area in Nkhotakota as ODF.
He said that the Ministry believes that if the communities continue following the hygiene practices in their homes and surrounding places then the 2016/2017 rainy season would go without any registered Cholera case.
"It is high time people started following the simple hygienic behaviours like ODF such that we reduce or completely eliminate the preventable diseases that result from poor hygiene practices.
"Following such practices would decrease number of patients in hospitals by half thereby reducing the budget that goes to Ministry of Health for such illnesses by a good percentage," the Minister said.
Kumpalume asked Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to work hand in hand with stakeholders by building toilets in all public places like schools, markets and hospitals so that the projects complement each other.
He advised fishermen to keep the docking areas safe so that they deliver fish which is not contaminated to the consumers.
Plan International's Country Director, Lilly Omondi asked women to be ambassadors in promoting hygiene in their homes saying they are big trainers to every citizen.
"Women should be in the forefront fighting unhygienic practices and teaching their children good hygiene practices so that it sticks into everyone's mind. Remember, every young person is trained by a woman," Omondi explained.
Chief Mphonde attributed his success to his good relationship with the community.
"My village men work hard to implement the bylaws we set together. Anyone who doesn't have a toilet or does not use it accordingly is fined," he said.
Nkhotakota, which strives to attain 100 percent ODF status by June this year, has four out of its six chiefs certified. The ODF certified TAs are Mwadzama, Malengachanzi, Mwansambo and Mphonde. The remaining TAs are Kafuzira and Kanyenda.
On the other hand, Malawi works towards sanitation for all by 2020.
Areas in the district have achieved ODF status through support from the Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) programme, currently being managed by Plan International Malawi and implemented by Synod of Livingstonia Development (SOLDEV).