Zimbabweans in Matebeleland North are still using the bush to relieve themselves, a 2019 Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVac) report has said.
According to the report, Binga district has the highest number of most homes that do not have toilets, adding open defecation and disposal of human fecal matter in fields, forest, bushes, open bodies of water, beaches or other open spaces or with solid waste is rife in the province.
"Open defecation was practiced by 33% of households nationally, with the highest proportion being in Matebeleland North (60%).
"Binga district had the highest proportion of households (74.3%) practicing open defecation," the report reveals.
"12 districts had more than 50% of households practising open defecation at the time of the assessment."
ZimVac warns that the practice (open defecation) increases the risk of the spread of water borne diseases such as cholera.
The report further stated that open defecation was reported across all provinces, but the Matebeleland region requires further in-depth investigations, including identification of social-cultural barriers to the uptake of optimum sanitation facilities and practices.
"Elimination of open defecation through availing of resources (both software and hardware) for the construction of latrines using locally available resources is recommended.
"Customised service standards should reconcile with technology choice and service levels with the economic capacity of user groups," the vulnerability watcher said.
On household sanitation services, the report discovered that the proportion of households without hand-washing facilities at their toilets was more than 80% in all districts of the country.
"Mashonaland Central had the highest proportion of households (20%) using unimproved sanitation services," the report said.
"In order to meet the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 target, there is need for accelerated actions towards hand-washing facilities."
Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVac) is a consortium of government, development partners, UN, non-governmental organisations, technical agencies and the academia.
It was established in 2002 and is led and regulated by government.