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By Godfrey Olukya 22-10-2012

A cabinet minister in Zimbabwe has revealed that almost 50 per cent of people living in rural areas in that country defecate in the bush, exposing themselves to diarrhea and other related diseases.

The Minister of Water Resources Development and Management, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo said that because people go to the bush to help
themselves instead of going to latrines, there is increase in outbreaks of water-borne diseases especially in rural areas.

Nkomo said, ‘A research carried out recently shows that 48% of Zimbabweans in rural areas use bush instead of latrines. That is terrible. Even the few latrines in villages are poorly constructed.’

He wondered why people in rural areas were not interested in constructing latrines. He said that he was recently touring some parts
of the country but was shocked on realizing that most homes had no latrines.

He said, ‘I was in Mtshabezi village last week and I realized that most homes there have no latrines. Imagine nine out of 10 households
there did not have latrines.’

He emphasised the need to educate villagers on the importance of having toilets, especially the older generations. He observed that
most elderly villagers do not appreciate the need to have latrines because most of them grew up in an era where it was unthinkable to use them.

He said, ‘When I was growing up, there was nothing like latrines. But now they are supposed to be used.’

Unicef Zimbabwe representative, Gianni Murzi also decried the lack of latrines. He said that Murzi said 35% of rural households in the country did not have access to safe water.

Murzi said, ‘There is discrepancy in the provision of adequate sanitation as 69% of rural households do not have improved toilet
facilities and of these households, 35% practice open defecation.’

END

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