RESIDENTS of Dowa are expressing worry over the lack of hygiene amenities in the central region district located north of the Malawian capital, Lilongwe.
The concern of deplorable public health services in the district was first raised by a group of concerned individuals called Friends of Dowa.
The concerned citizens asked the District Commissioner, Police Officer-In-Charge of the police and District Health Officer to physically inspect sanitation facilities at the district’s trading centre to get a first-hand experience of what residents are being subjected to.
Boxer Chisale is the Lead Advisor of Friends of Dowa.
He accused the local council of deliberately ignoring the dumping of solid waste from the market at a drainage behind the Dowa Community centre ground.
His worry was that this drainage system is very close to a residential area.
The Acting Director of Planning and Development at Dowa district council is Martin Pindamkono.
Responding to concerns raised by Chisale and his colleagues, he concedes that indeed the district is by far behind in the provision of sanitation services.
Pindamkono cites Dowa District Hospital and Dowa main market as classic examples of public places that do not have hygiene facilitates suitable for use.
He further states that the situation is worse in the district’s urban markets such as Lumbadzi, Mponela, Madisi and Boma.
In consequence, the public officer calls for urgent attention on the growing problem.
Pindamkono asks NGO partners to develop a plan that will efficiently manage waste in the district’s market places.
He suggests that the responsibility of providing good sanitation is not for the local council alone but development partners as well.
The district council, Pindamkono says, has identified dumping sites for solid waste at Mponela and Dowa trading centers.
Despite these efforts, he says there’s still a huge need of a comprehensive refuse waste management system
He is certain that by partnering with NGOs will make Dowa one of the cleanest districts in Malawi.
The district’s Environmental Health Officer is Joseph Lwesya.
In his expert opinion he says challenges of waste management urgently need to be addressed.
Lwesya suggests that priority must be given to markets where there are very few latrines and hygiene is a very huge problem.
Samuel Mhone is the Project Officer of the Mineral and Appropriate Technology Applicable in Malawi, MATAMA.
He says there’s need to have a sanitation plan so that the development partners can submit it to donors for funding.
Mhone explains that MATAMA developed sanitation by-laws for Mponela trading centre.
He is, however, appealing to the council to look for sustainability measures to maintain the interventions in the by-laws.