Vice President, Mutale Nalumango, has called for strong partnerships in addressing issues of water and sanitation in the country.
Mrs Nalumango explains that this is because of the integral part that improved access to clean water and enhanced sanitation plays towards achieving national development and the attainment of the vision 2030.
She says government has therefore increased the budgetary allocation to the water and sanitation sector.
She was speaking when she officially opened the second sanitation summit in Lusaka.
The Vice President added that government is also revising policies on water and sanitation to make them more responsive to the needs of the people.
Mrs Nalumango further said it was important that all stakeholders have come together and collaborated in finding solutions to the problems that are affecting the smooth implementation of improved water and sanitation projects.
“As you may be aware, access to proper sanitation and hygiene plays an important role in our lives, but access to these basic needs is still a challenge in some places hence this summit is key as it has brought key partners together to find solutions to these problems,” she said.
She has meanwhile expressed concern that rural and peri-urban areas have continued to face challenges in accessing enhanced water and sanitation services, a situation that has resulted in increased cases of water borne diseases.
The Vice President noted thatin order to address this problem, government has given financial support amounting to over US$1.5 billion to undertake improved water and sanitation projects in the 11 commercial water utilities in the country.
And a representative of the cooperating partners, Penelope Campbell, has thanked the Zambian government for making strides in improving access to clean and safe water and improved sanitation for the people.
Ms. Campbell, who is also United Nations Children’s Fund County Director, said there is need for government to work with the partners in ensuring that all the existing gaps in the provision of clean and safe water are addressed.
She stated that currently, Zambia is at 32 percent in terms of accessing basic sanitation, adding that this is the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa.
She added that this is why government must give priority to the sector by creating strong institutions and policies around sanitation.
“Poor sanitation has led to the increase in mortality and child morbidity. This is why government should make it a priority that issues to do with water and sanitation are given high attention in order to enhance human dignity,” she said.