Make Zambia Clean and Healthy Campaign
|Make Zambia Clean and Healthy Campaign|
The Government has adopted a campaign programme dubbed “Make Zambia Clean and Healthy”. The programme is aimed at making our cities, towns and villages cleaner in order to improve the health standards of our people. For some years now our communities have experienced constant outbreaks of cholera, dysentery, and other communicable diseases. This is mainly due to inadequate safe water supply and sanitation, inappropriate personal hygiene and eating habits, combined with low levels of knowledge on basic health and hygiene matters.
The “Make Zambia Clean and Healthy” Programme is an ongoing, government led, multi-sectoral, multi-disciplinary, campaign programme, where all government line ministries, Provincial and District Administrations, Local Authorities, Traditional Authorities, Statutory bodies and other Public institutions, Private sector institutions, Cooperating partners, Church Organizations, Non Governmental Organizations, Community Based Organisations, Individuals and the General Public at large are encouraged to actively participate in the implementation of a wide range of related activities covering such areas as; Promotion of Personal Hygiene, Garbage Collection, Provision of Clean and safe Water and Sanitation, General Cleanliness of Premises, Residences, Transport, and Communities, etc.
The Programme was launched by His Excellency, the late President Levy Mwanawasa, SC on 22nd June 2007 as a demonstration of the Government's commitment to speeding up the achievement of various MDGs by 2015 and Vision 2030 of developing Zambia to a middle income propsperous nation.
The “Make Zambia Clean and Healthy” programme shall take place three times a year. The proposed dates are the second week of April, August, and December each year.
This programme will afford an opportunity for all the citizens of the country to participate, whether in their homes, communities, churches, workplaces, or elsewhere, in meaningful activities that will impact positively on their lives and contribute to restoring a level of cleanliness and environmental good health for which Zambia was once renowned. It is hoped that we will regain and institutionalize a culture of cleanliness and good health which will be practiced by all and contribute to personal and national well-being.
Remember Cleanliness is next to Godliness!
The advantages of cleanliness and good hygiene practices in the home, community, and workplace are many. These include physical, psychological and economic benefits.
Good personal hygiene not only makes us look and feel better about ourselves, it also helps prevent skin infections, scabies, lice, gum and tooth disease and a whole host of other infectious diseases.
A clean home and surroundings, where the yard is swept, rubbish removed, and water protected will be a far happier and healthier place for children, than one that is unkempt. Clean children grow stronger and better than others, are less likely to be sick, and will do better at school, as they do not miss as many school days and have more energy for their studies.
Lack of illness not only makes the home a happier place, it also saves money as there is less expenditure on medicines and parents do not have to take time off to care for sick children.
A clean environment with no rubbish or overgrown grass or ponds of stagnant water means less mosquitoes, flies, or snakes. Apart from being aesthetically pleasing it also means less malaria, dysentery, cholera and other infectious diseases.
Clean schools with proper ablution blocks for boys and girls, not only allow the next generation to learn good practices, they also keep them healthy. A clean and tidy school environment encourages children to develop tidy practices which when applied to their studies will result in them performing better and achieving higher grades.
A business or workplace with a clean environment achieves many advantages. Not only does it contribute to decreased employee absence through illness with its negative effect on productivity and business costs, it provides an attractive environment that will make staff feel and perform better. Productivity increases and the business benefits.
In addition, an attractive and clean business environment gives a strong positive signal about its products, to existing and potential clients which can prove to be a significant advantage in a competitive market. It is also known that most people would prefer to enter clean premises with well kempt staff and an attractive exterior, than one that is untidy, strewn with rubbish, and full of unpleasant smells.
A large part of keeping our environment clean relates to thinking about it and reviewing our present practices rather than necessitating a large input of new resources.
We, have an opportunity with this “Make Zambia Clean and Healthy” programme to bring change into our lives, rediscover a clean environment and reap the many benefits that such change will bring to us as individuals, in our home, business, and community lives.
All Institutions, Individuals and the General Public can use the Generic activities listed in this “Make Zambia Clean and Healthy” Programme Concept Paper to develop activities for their own home, school, church, or workplace.
While it is appreciated that there are high levels of poverty in our country, it is still possible for people to keep themselves clean. Personal hygiene is vital in that it keeps one healthy and vibrant.
Everyone can take a bath regularly, hair can be well kept, nails kept short. Brushing teeth daily and after meals helps in preserving teeth and gives one good breath. Extra care should be taken to keep the ears and nose clean, especially in children. Circumcision for male children is nowadays recommended in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
Clothes must be regularly kept clean. Clothes and shoes should not be exchanged in order to reduce passing of infection from one person to another.
People can be made aware that some cosmetics (body and hair creams) have negative effects on their health. This is true especially in the case of skin lightening creams used by some of our women and men.
Spitting, urinating, and defecating in public places is not only unhealthy, but undignified behaviour. When drinking from taverns one should avoid sharing beer containers to minimise the spread of infectious diseases.
Smoking is not good for your health. Avoid smoking. Those who smoke should not do so in public places even if they own the premises.
Get to know your status by going for VCT at any health centre. It is healthy for one to stick to one faithful partner; other wise always use a male or female condom.
We must always wash our hands properly, before cooking or handling foods, before eating or feeding children, before and after changing baby’s nappies and after using a toilet. Always scrub both hands properly, using soap or ash with clean water.
Dry your hands with a clean towel or shake your hands dry.
In order to avoid some of the non-communicable diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes to mention but a few, there is need for regular physical exercises such as jogging, cycling and walking. This in itself is good for one’s Health and helps to make one feel better.
Zambia is endowed with plenty of foods which can constitute a balanced diet. Always eat a balanced meal in order to keep healthy. Fresh fruits should be washed with clean water and vegetables should be washed in clean water and properly cooked. Cooked foods should be served hot and on clean plates. It is always advisable to avoid using plastic plates as they are difficult to clean, easily keep germs, and pollute the environment as they are non-bio degradable. Metal, enamel or china plates are preferable.
All foods should be kept covered at all times. Avoid buying foods from the streets to avoid contracting infectious diseases. Meat and meat products should be sold from butcheries and never from the streets. Meat and meat products must be inspected and certified fit for human consumption. All meat or meat products usually sold in the streets may not have been certified to be fit for human consumption by Health Inspectors. It is, therefore, not safe to buy such meat or meat products from the streets. In fact, some of this meat is from diseased animals which could also cause disease in human beings.
There is currently a bird flu alert in Zambia. Report to the nearest veterinary, agriculture office or Health Centre any unusual deaths or illness in chickens or birds. Ensure that all chickens are thoroughly cooked before eating as that helps to kill the bird flu virus. Keep your chickens in confined places to avoid them from being in contact with wild birds or their droppings, which may contain the Bird flu virus. Keep your poultry premises clean at all times to avoid disease and contamination.
Food handlers are by law required to undertake medical check ups every six months in order to avoid the spread of communicable diseases. Ensure that food handlers in restaurants are regularly medically checked. All food premises are by law required to be inspected regularly for any germs that might give rise to any form of infection. Avoid transporting foods together with passengers to avoid contamination.
General Cleaning of Premises, Surroundings and Motor vehicles
Many of our premises and residential houses are dirty, and infested with flies, mosquitoes, cockroaches and rats. The general cleanliness of homes is poor with bathrooms in some homes having changed colour from white to brown, and the colour of some stoves cannot be recognised. Cobwebs have become permanent features in some homes while walls have never been washed or received a coat of paint in decades.
The surroundings of most premises including residential homes leave much to be desired. At times the grass around the premises or houses is so high that the houses themselves cannot be seen. Litter of all forms is strewn everywhere, pools of stagnant water serve as breeding places for mosquitoes and other insects, contributing to the high levels of infectious diseases found. Some buildings remain uncompleted whilst some shops have not been painted for many years. This situation has helped to make our cities and towns ugly and an eye sore. There is a need to change and restore the beauty of our buildings and environment.
Some restaurants and other food outlets are dirty and not fit to operate as such. Toilets lack basics such as soap, towels and tissue paper whilst the fittings may be broken and leaking. There is a need to correct this imbalance.
Some salons and beauty parlours use dirty towels for their clients hence exposing them to parasites and skin diseases. In this era of emerging complicated diseases, it is important that high standards of hygiene are observed and maintained.
Most Cities and Towns lack adequate public toilets and rest areas.
Some Filling Stations have very filthy or no public toilets at all.
Some of our markets and bus stations do not have adequate toilets and often times are dirty and full of litter.
Most of our churches have inadequate toilet facilities.
Some Hotels, Guest Houses, Lodges and Motels operate below expected standards in the provision of services.
The Prisons are congested resulting in unhealthy environments that compromise the personal hygiene and life of the inmates. The prisons should improve the living standards of inmates. Special attention should be made in the area of personal hygiene especially for female inmates e.g. sanitary towels. There is urgent need to decongest our prisons in order to decrease the spread of diseases like T.B, Cholera and skin infections which cause much death and suffering.
Some schools are dirty, dilapidated and without adequate water supply and sanitation. It is not uncommon to see school children going to school looking very dirty, in dirty uniform a sign that they have not taken a bath.
Some Public and Private Hospitals and Clinics in the country are not well maintained; in some cases there is bad odour that needs to be addressed.
There is, therefore, need for all stakeholders to join hands with the Government and improve on all the above issues if communicable diseases are to be abated.
Spraying of Houses against Mosquitoes, Cockroaches and Other Pests
The programme of Indoor Residual Spraying of houses and other premises has proved along with sleeping under a mosquito net, to be one of the effective ways of fighting malaria. For example, Malaria cases on the Copperbelt Province have gone down in the recent past as a result of spraying houses by the government in partnership with the private sector. There is urgent need to increase the spraying to all houses in the country in addition to sleeping under an insecticide treated net. This will reduce the number of illnesses and deaths due to malaria. Cockroaches also carry germs that cause illnesses. It is important that regular spraying of houses against cockroaches and other pests be encouraged.
Spray your house today against all pests that may be carrying germs that cause disease
Most of our cities and towns are today filled with heaps and heaps of uncollected garbage. These heaps of garbage found mostly at markets, stores, cemeteries, back yards, along streets and open spaces continue to increase in height and size due to high generation of garbage that does not match the collection and disposal to designated places. The mountains of garbage have become not only unsightly but also a source of diseases and a breeding ground for house flies and mosquitoes which are major vehicles in the spread of diseases. All stakeholders should find better ways of disposing off their garbage and reduce the generation of excess garbage.
All this garbage needs to be collected and disposed off at designated damp sites on an ongoing basis if the “Make Zambia Clean and Healthy” campaign programme is to succeed.
Provision of Clean and Safe Water
A large proportion of the people still have no access to clean and safe water supply. In some cases people still drink untreated water. For example, in George Compound of Lusaka City some people still drink contaminated water from shallow wells. High numbers of cholera cases and other diarrhoeal diseases are attributed to this situation in these compounds. Most of the shallow wells are very near to pit latrines thereby increasing their chances of contamination. The Local authorities, health authorities and communities are requested to ensure that communities are provided with safe water supplies so that shallow wells can be buried and people do not continue drinking contaminated water. All leakages should be reported to the Local Authority or Water Utility Company. Individual households are expected to fix any leaking pipes within their premises to avoid wastage of the scarce water resource, accruing high bills and possible water contamination. There is also urgent need to improve the quality and quantity of water supply. Our people should be encouraged to boil or chlorinate their drinking water. There is, therefore urgent, need for government and other stakeholders to improve the water supply situation in the country in order to meet the needs of the people in both rural and urban areas.
Access to sanitation remains very low in Zambia. There can be no dignity without adequate sanitation. There is, therefore, urgent need to provide good sanitation systems by upgrading unplanned settlements especially in urban areas of Lusaka, Ndola, Kabwe Kitwe and Livingstone. There is also need for communities in planned towns and villages to build appropriate toilets for their use e.g. VIP toilets. Toilets must be kept covered with doors closed at all times when not in use. Ensure pit latrines are regularly disinfected e.g. with Lime or ash in order to kill germs that cause diseases like cholera. The Local Authorities and communities in the cholera affected areas should bury all contaminated shallow wells as has been done by Kitwe City Council in its fight against the spread of cholera.
Many of the drainage systems in our cities and towns have been rendered non-functional due to indiscriminate throwing of litter into drainages especially in the market places and trading areas. There is need for traders, marketers and the general public to stop turning drainages into dust bins. The throwing of litter into drainages causes blockages and flooding during the rain season which in the long run leads to diseases. There is need, for all concerned to ensure that litter is thrown in dust bins and that all drainages are kept functional and clean at all times especially before the onset of rains. All stakeholders should support the government by clearing not only their frontage of their premises and houses, but also the drains. It is the responsibility and also in the interest of each one of us to ensure that our surroundings are kept clean, as it is impossible to expect that the Government can successfully do this work alone.
Prevention of Unplanned Settlements
Urbanization has brought with it challenges of unplanned settlements which do not have basic facilities such as water and sanitation. This has led to an unhygienic way of life for most of the people living in these unplanned settlements. There is urgent need, therefore, to upgrade these unplanned settlements by providing basic facilities such as clean water and good sanitation if we are to prevent the spread of diseases like cholera. All stakeholders should now join and support the government in ensuring that no more new unplanned settlements are ever allowed to come up again. The people in the townships should immediately report anyone found putting up an illegal structure just at the stage of digging foundations. We must not only report to the council or police when an illegal structure is at roof level. It is very important that the community helps its government to stop any further mushrooming of new slums. The police must always remember that they have a duty to enforce the laws of the Land. They should help the councils and the community by quickly moving in to arrest any culprits once they receive such reports. It is against the law for anyone including politicians to allocate land illegally or to construct illegal structures. Plots are only by law allocated by the Ministry of Lands and the local Councils. Today most of our cities and towns look ugly and have become a haven of diseases because of the unplanned settlements, which lack basic facilities like clean water and sanitation.
Community Health Education and Information
It is said that knowledge is power. There is, therefore, urgent need for all our leaders, that is Members of Parliament, Councillors, Traditional leaders, Church leaders and other leaders of various institutions to be well informed on health and other relevant issues which must be passed on to their communities, if we are to indeed “Make Zambia clean and Healthy”
Members of the media and other key personnel in the area of communication need to focus their attention on health and other environmental issues and ensure that the public at large are kept informed of the benefits that a clean and healthy environment will bring for them, their families, and the community at large.
There is so much pollution in the country especially Industrial pollution. Deforestation is another issue that continues to deplete our forests which are vital for good rains and good living in general. There is need for all stakeholders to join government in fighting deforestation and air pollution, we need to develop a culture of tree planting and avoid practises that pollute the environment in the country if the environment is to continue to be the basic source of our livelihood.
Enforcement of Laws.
There are a number of pieces of registration that law enforcement agents can use in order to curb most if not all the public nuisances. The Police, Local Authorities and Other relevant institutions have provision under the Laws of Zambia including By Laws made by Local Authorities that need to be reinforced during the “Make Zambia Clean and Healthy” Campaign and beyond.
The Police, Health Inspectors in Local Authorities and Health Institutions, the Environmental Council of Zambia and the Inspectorate division under the Ministry of Labour and Social Services just to mention but a few need to conduct regular inspection in areas of their scope/jurisdiction if these public nuisances are to be curtailed.
The government has adopted the concept of partnership with all its stakeholders in the development of the country. There is no country in the world where government alone has developed a nation without support from other stakeholders. There is need, therefore, for government and other stakeholders to develop effective partnerships in order to achieve a clean and healthy nation. The Public and Private Sectors, Civil Societies, the Cooperating Partners and the General Public at large are hereby called upon to join hands with the government in this noble cause of Making Zambia Clean and Healthy once again.
Keep Healthy! Stay Alive!!
For further Information Contact:
Make Zambia Clean and Healthy programme
Ministry of Local Government and Housing
P.O. Box 50027
Tel: +260 211 250528
Fax: +260 211 252280