Thursday, June 13, 2024

Sanitation services by all segments of the population is a key component of all aspects of sustainable development

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Copperbelt Province Permanent Secretary Augustine Kasongo has said access to water and sanitation services by all segments of the population is a key component of all aspects of sustainable development.

Mr. Kasongo said there is a need to enhance access to clean water and sanitation services for people in rural and urban areas as it would help to promote hygiene in communities.

He said poor water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are the main causes of infections such as cholera and diarrhea and that it continued to be the leading cause of death in children under the age of five in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Mr. Kasongo said this when he officially opened the planning and review meeting on the implementation of WASH activities for Copperbelt province in Ndola on Thursday.

“Access to water and sanitation services by all segments of the population is a key component of all aspects of sustainable development and this challenge becomes more important when the population growth by 2030 is factored in. In 2015 only 40 percent of households in Zambia had access to improved sources of sanitation. Additionally, 27 percent of people in the urban areas and 85percent in rural areas had no access to improved sources of sanitation. The proportion of households accessing improved sources of drinking water increased from 63percent in 2010 to 67.7 percent in 2015. Households in urban areas had more access to improved sources of drinking water at 89.2 percent compared to households in rural areas in 2015. Poor water supply, sanitation and hygiene (wash) are the main causes of infections like cholera and diarrhea and inadequate wash continues to be the leading cause of death in children under the age of 5 in sub-saharan Africa. There is a need to increase levels of access to clean and safe water and sanitation services for people in rural and urban areas. Low cost, high impact wash interventions which promote hygiene and sanitation in our communities would greatly help,” he said.

“In line with the government’s eighth national development plan, vision 2030 and the sustainable development goals the government will prioritize investments in schools, health facilities and public places like markets and bus stations by ensuring that these places have improved access to adequate sanitation facilities. Resources will be harnessed through the development of climate change resilient infrastructure in order to ensure that water security is assured. The ministry of water development and sanitation is the lead agency for the water and sanitation sector at the national level and is responsible for sector oversight and policy development. The ministry is also in charge of strategy development, resource mobilization, consolidation of monitoring and evaluation and reporting for the water sector as a whole. The ministry of local government is also an important part of the sanitation sector in Zambia as it is responsible for ensuring service provision. The 1991 local government act cap 281 0f the laws of Zambia confers the responsibility for sanitation provision to the local authorities. the law states that government shall make specific grants from the national fiscus to the local authorities for the discharge of its functions among them water supply and sanitation to the area falling under its jurisdiction, except in any area where a person provides such services solely for that persons own benefit or a utility or a service provider is providing such services. At district level, the responsibility for implementation and monitoring of sanitation and hygiene rests with the district councils,” Mr. Kasongo said.

Mr. Kasongo explained that in 2015, about 40 percent of households in Zambia had access to improved sources of water and sanitation and that 27 percent of people in urban areas and 85 percent in rural areas had no access to improved sources of sanitation.

He however said the proportion of households accessing improved sources of drinking water increased from 63 percent in 2010 to 67.7 percent in 2015.

Mr. Kasongo further said in 2015 households in urban areas had more access to improved sources of drinking water at 89.2 percent compared to households in rural areas.

“The Ministry of Water Development and sanitation (mwds) through the department of water supply and sanitation is implementing the nrwssp phase2 through you the local authority and to some extent the commercial utility(cu) as the main implementing agencies. In the rural areas the (cu) shall assume responsibilities for the rehabilitation of growth centers that have piped schemes. in public institutions such as schools and health facilities, water supply and sanitation shall be the responsibility of the respective institution. The commercial utilities could have been mandated to extend service provision under the newly developed framework in order to support sustainability of services in rural areas. The regulation of service provision for rural water supply and sanitation will ensure that an adequate and affordable water supply of good quality, as well as safe sanitation is accessible to the population of Zambia. The national rural water supply and sanitation program has four main objectives which are, firstly, to increase and improve the number of functioning water supply facilities in rural areas through systematic investments in new water supply facilities, rehabilitations, proper operations and maintenance of existing facilities,” he said.

Mr. Kasongo continued:”secondly to increase access to adequate and appropriate environmentally friendly sanitation facilities by 90% by the year 2030 at both household level and public institutions in rural areas through hygiene promotion, sanitation marketing, construction of facilities and legal enforcement. To strengthen systems for enhanced service delivery in the water and sanitation subsector. Lastly to improve the performance of rural water supply and sanitation sub- sector in planning implementation and management of rwss services through effective monitoring, evaluation and reporting. The president of the republic of Zambia, His Excellency Mr. Hakainde Hichilema last year directed the ministry of local government and rural development to do away with pit latrine in schools in the next 3 to 5 years.”

“Therefore, the mwds shall only construct waterborne sanitation facilities in order to improve access to basic sanitation going forward. The government has demonstrated a serious commitment towards improving access to safe and clean water by increasing budgetary allocation to this sector. It is essential that this level of commitment is sustained to ensure that targets in the vision 2030 are met.I want to implore the local authorities, the water utilities and the cooperating partners present here to prioritize ‘no regrets’ interventions in improving water supply, sanitation and hygiene in your areas of operation. Investing in water, sanitation and hygiene is the necessary foundation for a healthy and productive population. Investments in wash are what we call a no regrets investment, which supports human rights and saves lives.”

“The economic benefits of sanitation are about five times the cost and improving hand hygiene can generate savings in health expenditure of up to fifteen times the cost. For that reason, investing in wash is critical to preventing both pandemics and local outbreaks. As we already know, WASH is the first line of defense against Covid 19 and so many other diseases such as cholera, typhoid, diarrhea to mention just a few. Provision of safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene is crucial to human health and well-being. Safe wash is not only a prerequisite to health but contributes to livelihoods, school attendance, and dignity and helps to create resilient communities living in healthy environments. Safe and readily available water is important for public health, whether it is used for drinking, domestic use, food production or recreational purposes. Improved water supply and sanitation can boost countries’ economic growth and can contribute greatly to poverty reduction,” Mr. Kasongo concluded.

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