Minister Chiponda calls for collaboration in improving WASH services in hospitals

Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda has called for greater collaboration between the Government of Malawi and the private sector in improving water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in public health facilities in Malawi.

Chiponda made the call when she opened a learning event on WASH in health facilities at the Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe on Tuesday.

The minister stated that WASH is not only a prerequisite to health, but contributes to livelihoods, school attendance and dignity and helps to create resilient communities living in health environments.

“Providing quality care, healthcare facilities need to have a safe and accessible water supply; clean and safe sanitation facilities; hand hygiene facilities at points of care and at toilets; and appropriate waste disposal systems. My ministry recognises that infrastructure that supports WASH and healthcare waste management practices helps prevent the spread of diseases within the healthcare facility and to the surrounding community,” said Chiponda.

The minister further stated that WASH infrastructure and services are also essential to allow healthcare workers to perform appropriate infection prevention and control practices and WASH services.

Chiponda said both healthcare workers and patients need access to hand hygiene supplies to reduce the risk of spreading infections through unwashed hands.

WaterAid Malawi Interim Country Director Peter Phiri taking questions from journalists in Lilongwe

“Without appropriate WASH infrastructure and services, patients, healthcare workers, and communities are at increased risk of disease, My ministry notes with great concern that every year, millions of people die from diseases caused by inadequate water supply, sanitation, and hygiene. Other than pneumonia, diarrhea is the main cause of death in children under age 5 globally and here in Malawi,” said Chiponda.

The minister disclosed that government, through the Ministry of Health with support from partners, has put in place strategies to improve WASH in health care facilities as a means of enhancing Infection Prevention and control / WASH services.

Evidence suggests that improving service levels towards safely managed drinking-water or sanitation services can dramatically improve health by reducing morbidity-caused diseases such as diarrhoeal diseases including cholera.

She therefore thanked WaterAid Malawi for the support given to Malawi Government with the construction of WASH Infrastructure such as latrines, incinerators, and reticulated water systems using submersible pumps installed in boreholes.

WaterAid Malawi Interim Country Director Peter Phiri assured the minister of his organization’s commitment to complementing government efforts in improving WASH services in public healthcare facilities in Malawi.

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