Tue, 01 Dec 2020

A boy washes his hands at a handwashing point after using a latrine in Kabeleka village, in Lusaka, Zambia, on Oct. 10, 2020. Simple handwashing points are a common feature in this area. (Xinhua/Lillian Banda)

As the world is adjusting to the new ways of living, Zambian rural communities are employing innovative solutions to resound to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic using resources available at their disposal.

LUSAKA, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- As the world is adjusting to the new ways of living, Zambian rural communities are employing innovative solutions to resound to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic using resources available at their disposal.

For many Zambians residing in rural areas of the country, access to basic things such as soap or hand sanitizers are luxuries that the majority can only dream of having particularly during this period of economic upheavals.

However, residents of these communities are instead investing in simple but practical ways of curbing COVID-19 and other diseases.

A visit to Kabeleka Village situated in the outskirts of Zambia's capital Lusaka revealed that residents have installed simple handwashing points made from small tree poles strings and plastic containers.

This plain technology is a common feature that is present at almost every home in the village and many households have. It often is strategically situated near latrines and other spaces where people can easily access them.

"Health practitioners tell us that many diseases including COVID-19 can be prevented by maintaining good hygiene practices such as handwashing. However, many families cannot afford to buy soap or sophisticated water dispensing containers hence investing in this basic technology," explained Anna Chibale, a resident of Kabeleka village.

A boy washes his hands at a handwashing point after using a latrine in Kabeleka village, in Lusaka, Zambia, on Oct. 10, 2020. Simple handwashing points are a common feature in this area. (Xinhua/Lillian Banda)

Chibale also added that Kabeleka village has for a long time been using ash from firewood as a substitute for soap with respect to handwashing, as well for disinfecting latrines.

"In villages where availability of soap is a challenge, ash is the best alternative. Many households cannot afford to buy soap and that is why it is common to find a pack of ash at handwashing points. Ash is also used to disinfect latrines and also worked well as bleach. When available, soap is only used for bathing and laundry," Chibale revealed.

Kabeleka village development committee chairperson Kennedy Sabao said the putting up of handwashing points across the village has helped to enhance good health practices among villagers as well as improved adherence to preventative measures of COVID-19 and other diseases.

According to Sabao, having handwashing points at every household has not only helped to reduce incidences of illness arising from contagious disease in Kabeleka village but also inculcated a sense of health awareness among residents.

"With increased awareness, many people in the village are adopting healthy practices by investing in simple and practical solutions which have ultimately led to a reduction in incidences of contagious diseases," Sabao said. ■

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