By Tione Andsen – Mana.
Water and environmental Sanitation Network (WES Networks) has expressed concern of low political prioritization of Water, Hygiene and Sanitation (WASH) in the country in awake of the Covid-19 threat.
WES Network National Coordinator, Willies Mwandira expressed the concern Friday during a Press briefing in Lilongwe regarding the threat of Covid-19 in the country.
He said the Covid-19 pandemic was 100 percent WASH related which requires washing hands regularly with clean water and soap in order to kill the virus.
Mwandira observed that budgetary allocations that fail to meet locally and internationally prescribed bench marks of 5 per cent total national budget as per the e Thekwini Declaration which Malawi was a signatory to.
“Low prominence of WASH in Health care facilities are critical in the fight against the pandemic and in preventing health care workers, patients, clients and guardians healthcare acquired infections,” he observed.
The National Coordinator pointed out that sense of urgency by government to repair non-functional boreholes in rural areas and restoration of water supply for markets and strategically placed kiosks in low income areas to ensure continued hand washing practice.
“We already have structures in place that just need efficient utilization. Let us move from a country well known of putting policies, strategies and guidelines on paper but failing to implement them,” Mwandira lamented.
Water Aid Coordinator on policy and Sector Engagement, Lloyd Mtalimanja hopes that this year’s budget is expected to increase budgetary allocation on WASH sector after the budgetary consultation meetings with the Ministry of Finance.
He added that the Ministry was aware that WASH sector has been lobbying for increase budgetary allocation since 2012 but there is slow progress in this regard.
National Budget allocation to WASH sector has been an average of 1 per cent over the past three to five years not reaching a minimum threshold of 5 per cent of national budget,
This is not in line with Malawi’s Water Sector Investment Plan (WSIP) 2012 allocation estimates.