Unicef country representative Peter Salama made the pledge in a speech read on his behalf by the body’s chief of water and sanitation, Kiwe Sebunye, at the Global Handwashing Day in Budiriro recently.
“We must now turn our attention to rural populations who continue to bear the brunt of the poor water and sanitation situation in the country,” Salama said.
“Unicef remains committed to working together with the inclusive government of Zimbabwe, development partners, United Nations sister agencies, civil society organisations and communities to ensure that Zimbabwe’s women and children have access to clean water and adequate sanitation.”
He said 4 000 Zimbabwean children die of diarhoea annually. The disease is caused by inadequate sanitation, poor hygiene and unsafe water.
Unicef says handwashing with soap can reduce the incidence of diarrhoea among children by almost 50% and respiratory infections by nearly 25%.
The theme for this year’s commemorations was “More Than Just A Day”.
Budiriro is one of the areas that bore the brunt of the 2009 cholera outbreak that killed an estimated 4 000 people countrywide.