FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
THE NATIONAL FOOD AND NUTRITION COMMISSION URGES CITIZENS TO ACCESS CLEAN TOILETS TO PREVENT DISEASES WHICH CONTRIBUTE TO MALNUTRITION
Lusaka (Friday, 19th November 2021), This year’s World Toilet Day which is celebrated today on the 19th of November 2021, under the theme, ‘’valuing toilets’’ calls for all humans to promote use of clean toilets for good health and a key to eradicating malnutrition in children.
The National Food and Nutrition Commission notes that access to clean toilets is still a challenge among communities in Zambia and this has contributed to an increase in cases of malnutrition currently at 35% in children below two years. The Demographic Health Survey reveals that 33% of the population does not have access to basic sanitation services, 41% in urban areas and 28% in rural areas. It’s also appreciated that 44% of households have access to an improved sanitation facility, with the pit latrine that has a slab commonly used at 37%.
However, a big population in Zambia still practices open defecation which leads to pollution of surface water, ground water and soils. In the recent past, Lusaka and other districts, experienced contamination of ground water due to the problem of shallow wells where in the rain season water and fecal matter mixed and resulted in many cholera cases and deaths.
The fight against malnutrition requires that we address all causes of malnutrition that include poor access to clean toilets in communities. Much more, at the onset of the rain season, citizens are encouraged to adhere to the tenets of hygiene to prevent a repetition of an outbreak of waterborne diseases. The fact of poor access to clean toilets in communities coupled with inability to wash hands with soap after using the toilet leads to most of the diarrhea cases in children. Evidence shows that, diarrhea is a leading cause of child deaths and contributes greatly to malnutrition in children below 5 years. Accordingly, diarrhea compromises the immunity of children, resulting into poor absorption of food and nutrients in their bodies, thereby causing malnutrition and in some instances death. On the other hand, access to clean toilets helps prevent diseases, guarantees a healthy body and increases chances for the body to absorb most of the food and nutrients.
Therefore, as we commemorate the World Toilet Day, the National Food and Nutrition Commission takes the opportunity to call upon all citizens to ensure that they build, maintain and access clean toilets for environmental health and human health which helps to prevent waterborne diseases and consequently blocks chances for malnutrition in children to thrive.
Nutrition Education and Communication Unit
National Food and Nutrition Commission
P.O. Box 32669, Lusaka
Tel: +260 211 227 803