Chimanimani eyes open defecation free zone status

By Tamuka Charakupa

CHIMANIMANI District is set to become an open defecation free zone after concerted government efforts to ensure every homestead has a functional ablution facility as part of efforts to improve hygiene in rural communities.

Tomeke Village became the first to be declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) in Chimanimani as the district targets to ensure every household has an ablution facility as part of efforts to curb diarrhoeal diseases in the area.

Chief Raymond Saurombe is excited about the latest development, urging community leaders to prioritise sanitation issues in their areas of jurisdiction.

“This a good development, all villages must attain open defecation free status given that our district is prone to natural disasters and on high risk of disease contamination,” he said.

Chimanimani District Medical Officer Dr Donatas Mugari said the progress is part of government’s Water Sanitation and Hygiene Programme which is targeting equitable access to affordable sanitation and safe water by 2030.

“We wish to hold similar celebrations in each if the remaining villages that are in the demand lead sanitation and hygiene promotion wards. Let us bear in mind that rural wash project is in line with government Social Services and Poverty Eradication Cluster under ZIMASSET,” said Mugari.

Implementing partner Welt Hunger Hilfe Programmes Manager Adonis Faifi revealed that a budget of US$1.5 million was used to implement the projects across the district.

“We had a budget of about 1.5 million which we used to construct and revive water sources across the district since last year. Part of the programme budget is the target to ensure every rural homestead has a ventilated improved pit to ensure total eradication of the bush system,” he said.

Manicaland Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Honourable Nokuthula Matsikenyeri spoke on the importance of improving people’s well-being in the district.

“Open defecation brings challenges such as diarrhoeal diseases such as cholera, dysentery and typhoid. Open defecation leads to contamination of water sources resulting in water borne diseases. This does not only lead to absenteeism of workers and learners but increase medical bills and in turn affect the country’s production as a whole. We need to have active community health clubs, school health clubs and sanitation action groups. Hygiene is not a one day performance but rather a lifestyle, it is not adequate to have a BVIP only, it has to be used properly and after using it, hands should be washed with running water using soap or ash,” she said.

The Second Republic is walking the talk in ensuring improved livelihoods across the country, with water and sanitation programmes being key in protecting citizens from diseases.