Chipata Compound, November 19, Lusaka-Every year on World Toilet Day and beyond, countries worldwide participate in the EOD and bring attention to other sanitary issues in places where there are no toilets or sanitary infrastructure to use and people end up using the surrounding environment as an alternative. All these can be prevented if the practice of open defecation is stopped through the availability of toilets and other sanitary amenities.
Therefore this observance is a call to action for each and every one of us to break the silence
with the target of ending the practice by 2025. Zambia is one of many countries in the developing world still grappling with the practice of open defecation in both rural and in high density areas in the cities. Preventable diseases like cholera among others have become perennial due to unhealthy sanitary practices.
However, hope is not lost as the practice of open defecation in communities is slowly being conquered through the support of UNICEF in collaboration with various water utility companies, the Ministry of Local Government and Housing in building toilets in various communities meant to improve the quality of life and reversing the mentioned impacts of open defecation. Some areas that have moved in a positive direction to end open defecation include Choma, Mkushi, Namwala, Monze and other areas in the country.
In Lusaka in some high density areas, the water utility company Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company is rehabilitating the water reticulation system and UNICEF is supporting the building of toilets and water collection points in the community.
On November 19 in Chipata Compound an awareness campaign took place. Drama was the mode of outreach used, the community was taught on the importance and benefits of having a toilet as opposed to using the surroundings sending a clear message that open defecation was a detrimental practice to the general well-being of the people and community.
In random interviews conducted in the community, the people stated that a toilet was a must in any household and brought dignity to its users and encouraged healthy life styles. It also ensured that the environment was kept clean. One area of Chipata compound was a beneficiary to the sanitary facilities built for them and have confirmed that even outbreaks of water borne diseases has drastically reduced.