Health facility was compelled to buy water from the overcrowded community borehole or sometimes rely on rainwater to provide health care. This resulted in loss of productive hours, poor health care delivery and high infection. “If you don't have water you can't do the cleaning and dusting or decontaminate the instruments you use on people. So, we had problems - You have to economise with the amount of the water you use for hygienic tasks,” says Vivian Kumah, In-charge of the facility.
According to Vivian, Patients including pregnant women had to carry buckets of water to the health facility or send relatives to queue up at community pump for several hours and bring water for use. Sometimes the nurses will have to also go through that stress to access water which made infection control in the health center more difficult. “Childbirth without water is not safe because you have to use instruments on the baby and the mother, and you have to decontaminate the instruments before you use them for other people.” She said.
Ensuring adequate WASH at healthcare facilities minimizes the risk of infection for patients and their families, health workers and surrounding communities. Clean and safe healthcare facilities can increase demand for and trust in services, increase the motivation and retention of health workers, and result in cost savings from infections averted and more efficient service delivery. For Gambia No.1 health center, the intervention of Hilton foundation and its partners working towards achieving full WASH coverage has provided a solar powered small-scale mechanized system to supply water to the health facility and nearby school and settlement. Hence this is enough reason to be super happy.
“We are very happy because we don't have problem with water now, so we thank World Vision very much. When you need water you just open the tap. We can do infection prevention control and the clients who come to the facility also benefit, The water facility has come to reduce the burden of clients carrying water from their homes to the health facility for use - staff and patients are grateful World Vision for giving us water” says Vivian Kumah.