Better financing, coordination, leadership and monitoring of hygiene promotion policies by governments across the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region must be put in place to ensure better hygiene practices, improved access to clean water and decent sanitation in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, Oxfam, Water Aid and World Vision have said.
According to Water Aid’s recently released State of Hygiene in Southern Africa report, poor hygiene is a major contributor to several hygiene-related diseases in the Southern Africa region with cholera outbreak the biggest threat in five countries including Zimbabwe.
“There is a huge gap in the area of sanitation and hygiene. Unless governments, communities and civil societies adopt innovative strategies to stimulate and create demand for sanitation, hygiene, and behavior change, achieving sustainable development in Africa will be impossible,” said Dr Emmanuel Opong, World Vision’s Southern Africa Regional Director for WaSH and Capacity Building.
“Across the Southern African region, too many people continue to live without access to clean water and decent sanitation. However, progress towards improving access to these basic facilities must also be complemented with a step-change in our attitudes towards the promotion of better hygiene practices,” said Robert L. J Kampala Water Aid’s Southern Africa Regional Director.
Meanwhile, an evaluation done in 2017 by World Vision in 14 countries including Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe revealed that a lot more still needs to be done in WaSH in households, communities, health care facilities and schools in World Vision program areas, which are mostly rural.
The evaluation highlighted that improved investment in infrastructure and supplies is essential to address these issues.
World Health Organization estimates that a newborn in low- and middle-income countries dies every minute from infections related to lack of clean water and an unclean environment.