EVIDENCE ACTION, a local non-governmental organisation, continues to change people’s lives in Kachulu area, Traditional Authority Mwambo in Zomba district.
Through its Safe Water project, the organization has since 2014 installed about 3 811 chlorine dispensers in designated water points in the district.
Usually known for cholera outbreaks in the past years, Kachulu area which is along Lake Chilwa has not registered any cholera case despite the country registering a number of cases, a development which has been attributed to best hygiene practices including adoption of the dispenser’s innovation by the communities.
Cidric Chitezi, is a disease control and surveillance assistant at Kachulu Health Post. He said due to its geographical position, communities in the area rely on water from the lake for household usage thereby putting their lives at risk.
He, however, said with the coming of the chlorine dispensers, people are now able to use safe water which is chlorinated for drinking and other household activities.
He said: “The pressure on us has been reduced. We used to have a lot of diarrhea cases for both adults and children including cholera. In the past, this area was a hot spot for cholera but as I am speaking now, we have not registered any case.
“This is because when we approached people, though they resisted in the beginning, they adopted the use of chlorine and now they are living healthy lives.”
One of the promoters who works with the health personnel to distribute chlorine in the dispensers Stella Chipanje thanked Evidence Action for its continued support citing more lives have been saved because chlorine is always available.
She said: “I have been a promoter since 2014. Before Evidence Action, this area had diarrhea cases and cholera was starting from here going to other areas. But now, people have understood that it is their responsibility to protect themselves from these preventable diseases.”
She said through village meetings, the promoters are able to disseminate information on best hygiene practices and well being and that men in the area are now champions of change on best practices.
Associate Manager for Evidence Action’s Safe Water Programme David Matabwa said in a bid to provide more households with safe water, the organization is expanding its activities and reach to other districts including Balaka, Mangochi and Blantyre and that in some areas, dispensers have already been installed.
In his remarks, Water and Environmental Sanitation Network (WESNetwork) executive director Willies Mwandira hailed Evidence Action for promoting water, sanitation and hygiene initiatives citing they are key to cholera prevention as the rain season nears.