UNICEF to help curb open defecation

MASVINGO – UNICEF has channelled resources to curb the alarming prevalence of open defection practices recorded in most rural areas of the country, an official has said.

The remarks were made by UNICEF official, Elizabeth Mupfumira during a UN Media workshop held recently.

Mupfumira said Masvingo and Matabeleland North recorded the highest incidences.

She said United Nations agency has since partnered with the Ministry of Health and Child Care to set up trigger community groups working within their respective areas to promote sanitation and hygienic practices.

“As United Nations we are working to curb this challenge by promoting open defecation free communities. We are also assisting the ministry (of Health) in creating what we call trigger community groups that work within their various villages to promote sanitation and hygiene practices,” said Mupfumira.

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The noble intervention came at a time when the 2014 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) indicated that 31,7% of households practice open defecation in Zimbabwe.

Mupfumira said their intervention has not been spared from challenges.

She cited behavioural and cultural issues as the main sources of the challenges.

“The main challenges we find is a behavioural issue, it’s a cultural issues. So it’s about talking and convincing the villagers and the community members to do away with the practice.

“So it’s a mindset thing. We are working more towards changing their attitude and their perceptions of open defecation that it actually has positive implications in health and overall human development in the rural areas,” she said.