In the news: PACHI urges communities to form cholera discussion groups

Written by Prisca Chinguwo – Nyasatimes

Source: Nyasatimes

Parent and Child Health Initiative (PACHI) has urged communities which were affected by cholera in Lilongwe to form groups that will enhance information sharing on cholera and other health issues that the communities are likely to face.

Pachi’s Laura Munthali: Areas need to be prevented from cholera

PACHI, a nongovernmental organization working hand in hand with UNICEF, has so far in Lilongwe visited area 36, Kawuma, Mchita Njilu, Mtandile and Mitengo in order to spearhead the formulation of the groups.

Speaking at Mitengo, PACHI project coordinator, Laura Munthali, said PACHI decided to form the groups to provide a platform for information sharing amongst the communities.

“The groups will help the villagers to discuss issues that affect them and see the way to solve them as a group.

“In cases when they fail to provide solutions for particular problems, they then should address those to PACHI where we should be able to help them or engage other relevant stakeholders,” said Munthali.

The project coordinator said after their investigations on cholera issues, it was noted that six areas in Lilongwe District were mostly affected which was also a threat to other neighbouring areas.

As such, she said the decision was made to reach out to all the affected areas in order to provide a platform of free flow of information as regards the same.

According to Munthali, one of the key challenges is high rate of existence of communal toilets.

 “PACHI, in cooperation with UNICEF, found out that most of the communities have small land which makes it more difficult to build toilets.

“As such, there is also high usage of communal toilets, which is a risk to people’s health conditions,” she said, adding this was an area the cholera discussion groups could decide on how best to address.

Speaking in an interview won behalf of the senior chiefs, Senior Chief Kalumbu said he was happy that PACHI visited the areas after noticing the cholera issues that affected the areas during the rainy season.

“Wells in most of the areas brought a threat to people’s lives because they are located less than five metres away from the toilets due to small land.

“The only source of water in the areas are boreholes, which after investigations revealed that water from the boreholes is not safe due to contamination with the toilet wastes,” said Kalumbu.

In his remarks, Group Village Head Mitengo said the village was only relying on the water that UNICEF has been bringing for them twice a day, though the water is not enough to accommodate all the villagers.

“UNICEF decided to bring water to the area which has been beneficial to the areas. The only problem is that the water supply is not enough for the villagers since everyone is expected to fetch one bucket when the truck comes,” said Group Mitengo.

He urged PACHI to help the areas fight cholera disease so that from 2019, the areas should be free from it.