Over 50% villagers without toilets in Matebeleland North, relieving themselves in bushes – report claims 

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

THE latest Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC) report has revealed that more than 50% of families in Matebeleland North province do not have access to toilets and relieve themselves in bushes.

The province was said to have a dire shortage of ablution facilities, with Binga (67%), Lupane (61%) and Tsholotsho (52%) districts being the most affected.

“27% of rural households practiced open defecation. Matebeleland North (50%) had the highest proportion of households practicing open defecation,” reads the report.

“Most districts in Matebeleland North had over 50% of households practicing open defecation. Open defecation in Matabeleland North has been constantly high over the years.”

The report noted that Nkayi, which used to top the list of districts affected by open defecation in the province, has greatly improved, following various interventions from developmental partners such as World Vision.

Mfanyana village in Nkayi, which was one of the hot spots, launched a zero open defecation campaign four years ago, which is now paying dividends.

Under the campaign, every villager was asked to go out and hunt human faeces in bushes around the village and bring them to a public gathering, which was held at the local headman’s homestead.

During the meetings, villagers compared costs of construction of a one-bag cement latrine hole to treatment and burial of a person who would have succumbed to diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera.

Mashonaland East has the highest proportion of households with improved sanitation.