Doctors Worldwide

Chiradzulu, Malawi – Doctors Worldwide carries out desludging operations on health centre pit latrines

At Doctors Worldwide, we know there is much more that determines good health than just access to a doctor or nurse. 

Sanitation is a key factor in both maintaining good health and for a patient’s recovery. Without it, people are more at risk of developing infections and disease. Bathrooms in particular are a major player in maintaining good sanitation. 

In Malawi, it is often difficult to reach filled latrines in densely populated urban areas, lending to a growing concern by the District Health Service of Blantyre as to how filled latrines could be emptied. 


WES Health’s solution to accessing hard to reach facilities is this mobile desludging station – pictured on the left 

Together with the Ministry of Health and District Health in Blantyre, Doctors Worldwide funded and ensured the proper sanitation of 14 filled latrines in the Milepa, Ndunde, and Namitambo health centres in the Chiradzulu district of rural Malawi. As a result 5,800 patients will be benefitted every week.


Sanitation workers begin the ‘Fluidization’ process, removing the liquid waste.

Once the majority of the ‘sludge’ had been removed, the sanitation workers fished out the solid rubbish by hand – this included sanitary towels, diapers and litter.


Examples of solid waste removed from latrines

EWES management disposed of it in accordance to their duty of care policy. It was pumped out onto a limestone bed, where the pathogens are killed by the lime. Within 3-7 days, the sludge was dried and used for agricultural compost. 


Extracted sludge is layered onto a lime bed in order to dry it out and kill any pathogens.

Rather than decommissioning pit latrines, the effective method in which these latrines have been de-sludged means they can be used for another 10 years.

Increasing access to clean, sanitised bathroom facilities is key to increasing the quality of healthcare for patients recovering in these health facilities. Doctors Worldwide extends its thanks to WES Management, whose workers are at risk from infection themselves in order to ensure that patients in these facilities have access to good sanitation for the next decade.

. To support our work, and help provide essential services like sanitation to patients across the world, you can donate here.

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