Improving health outcomes in Malawi

30 July 2021

Women drawing water from a borehole [Credit: The Salvation Army Malawi Territory]

Cases of waterborne diseases, such as cholera, were high in Malawi’s Karonga District as a result of poor sanitation, unprotected water sources and frequent flooding, which forced communities to use contaminated water sources.

With support from the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP), The Salvation Army  is working with communities to improve health outcomes through interventions focused on improving access to safe water, sanitation facilities and hygiene education.

The Karonga Integrated WASH and Food Security Project is improving access to clean water through the construction of 25 boreholes throughout the Karonga district. Project staff are also raising awareness in communities on COVID-19 and how to prevent transmission as part of its hygiene awareness efforts.

Protected water sources close to homes has reduced the distance that households, typically women, need to walk to collect water. Importantly, access to safe water for approximately 10,000 households has contributed to reduced cases of cholera. The increased availability of water is also enabling more regular hand washing, which is crucial in COVID-19 prevention efforts.

One community member, Martha (82), explains how the location of the borehole close to her home has reduced the burden of walking long distances to access water, which was previously difficult for elderly people to manage. “Access to water was a big problem for us elderly people, we were unable to walk longer distances for water but our problems have been solved as we have portable water closer to us. I can now draw water at any time I need it.’’

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