22 March 2023
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BLOG: World Water Day - Elizabeth McKernan22 March 2023
Partnerships Manager at WaterAid
“With your continued support, we will put clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene at the heart of Health Care Facilities. And we won’t stop until everyone, everywhere has what they need to stay clean and healthy, for good.”Elizabeth McKernan
Partnerships Manager, WaterAid
Cyclone Freddy heightens the risk of current cholera outbreaks in Malawi spreading further.
Every year on 22 March we celebrate World Water Day. It’s a day for us to celebrate water, but it’s also a day for us to raise awareness of the 771 million people in the world - one in ten - currently living without access to safe water.
Cyclone Freddy is currently causing catastrophic flooding in both Malawi and Mozambique – countries that already have serious cholera outbreaks – creating an acute risk of exacerbating spread of the diseases.
In Malawi three quarters of people do not have a decent toilet and around 30% do not have even a basic supply of clean water close to home?
In its path, Cyclone Freddy has brought increased flooding and damage to water and sanitation infrastructure heightening the risk of current outbreaks spreading further.
As of 13 March 2023, Malawi’s total confirmed cases were at 53,464 with 1,643 total deaths.
But some areas have escaped those higher numbers of cholera cases, partly due to recent investment in improving water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, thanks to Scottish Water employee fundraising and Scottish Government International Development funding.
Francis Nthonga, Medical Technician for Kawinga Heath Care Facility in Machinga District Malawi, said:
“We received aid from WaterAid for the construction of toilets and a water supply system which has been very crucial in the containment of this [cholera outbreak] because patients are able to wash, where previously they used to go to the river. There would have been chaos if that was the same case today."
Partnership working with Scottish Water and Scottish Government
Our partnership work with Scottish Water and the Scottish Government is so important. On a recent visit [September 2022] to Machinga District, Malawi [with the Scottish Government] I met communities whose lives have been transformed thanks to your support. I also visited Kawinga Health Care Facility and learned that your fundraising means that mothers there can now give birth safely. Previously women had no choice but to walk long distances for water and after giving birth, they used full pit latrines overflowing with faeces, as a bathing shelter.
Basic human rights such as safe drinking water, clean water and soap for handwashing, decent toilets and the ability to shower after giving birth are now a reality at Kawinga.
The Deliver Life Project* has constructed improved and inclusive toilets in four healthcare facilities, including Kawinga. Over 224,000 people have gained access to decent toilets through the project’s work which covers more than 40 communities across Zomba and Machinga Districts.
With your continued support, we will put clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene at the heart of Health Care Facilities. And we won’t stop until everyone, everywhere has what they need to stay clean and healthy, for good.
*The Deliver Life project is funded by the Scottish Government’s International Development fund and Scottish Water employee fundraising.
Newly constructed toilets, Kawinga Health Centre, Machinga, Malawi, December, 2021. Credit: WaterAid/Francis Chipanda
Kawinga Health Centre, Machinga, Malawi, December, 2021 Credit: WaterAid/Francis Chipanda
JOIN Mission: Water
We are calling on employees from across the water industry to come together this June.
One industry. One week. One mission.
...to bring clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene to people who need them most.
Designed exclusively to unite water industry employees across Scotland, Northern Ireland, England and Wales in a week of personal challenges and fundraising, 5-11 June 2023.
Register now at wateraid.org/uk/mission-water