The Department of International Development (DFID) has announced an additional 12 million pounds for the extended rural wash programme to be implemented in 11 selected districts in Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central and Manicaland Provinces.

The funds will be used to provide improved access to water and sanitation to 1.4 million people.

DFID Zimbabwe is working in collaboration with UNICEF to provide equitable and sustainable access to clean water, improved sanitation and adoption of good hygiene practices among rural populations in 11 districts in the country.

Speaking at a ceremony to announce the financial assistance in Harare this Tuesday, DFID head of office Ms Annabel Gerry is optimistic the second phase of the rural wash programme will further strengthen the thematic areas of rehabilitation and construction of wash infrastructure.

Zimbabwe is currently fighting typhoid, which has since October 2016 affected many people.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Water, Climate and Environment Mr Prince Mupazviriho and UNICEF deputy country representative Dr Jane Muita said the assistance will go a long way in fighting water borne diseases and reduce the vulnerability of girls and women who have the responsibility of fetching water.

According to UNICEF, at least 32 percent of people in rural Zimbabwe do not have access to improved sources of drinking water while about 52 percent do not have access to safe sanitation facilities.

The programme has already improved access to drinking water for over three million people across 33 rural districts of Zimbabwe through the provision of new boreholes, the rehabilitation of existing water points and piped water schemes.

Since 2012, the programme has provided over 600 000 people with access to improved sanitation, with institutional and self-sponsored latrines.

The wash programme has been extended to October 2018 and is expected to lead to a reduction in cases of water-borne diseases.