Around 400 people from the communities of Masantigie and Malunka near Waterloo in Western Area rural are benefiting from improved health care services as a result of an upgrade to the water supply and sanitation facilities in their peripheral health care unit (PHU) as part of the President's Recovery Priorities, through funding by UK aid from the British people.
These 400 people in Waterloo are part of more than 150,000 people in Sierra Leone who are set to benefit from improved water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) under the rural DFID WASH project launched by the Government of Sierra Leone with UNICEF, and funded by UK aid. To date, the construction of 147 out of 175 (84 per cent) sanitation facilities has been completed at PHUs. A total of 58 health care facilities out of 70 earmarked have already been provided with boreholes.
The integrated 'WASH in PHU' project is also aimed at improving medical waste management to promote infection and prevention control and reduce hospital infections. To do this, a solar powered water well, toilet, bathroom and laundry have been built at the Masantigie PHU, where Finda Komba works as the MCH Aide in charge: In addition to the WASH facilities, they even constructed ash and placenta pits for us and these are making our work easier and effective and more patients are coming to the clinic,rdquo; she said.
Michael Sami, a project officer at Living Waters International, an NGO that partnered with UNICEF to implement the work in Western Area, said: Before, patients used to walk about three to four miles to the clinics in neighbouring communities because there were no WASH facilities at the clinic at Masantigie.rdquo;
Neighbouring Malunka community has benefited from a bore hole for the first time. The Headman of the community, Sulaiman Sankoh, was highly appreciative of this intervention. Before, we used to go to the stream to fetch water but now we have water right in the middle of our community; our children are no longer late for school,rdquo; said Headman Sankoh. We also received hygiene education including handwashing with soap as well as health benefits of drinking safe water.rdquo;
In line with the President's Recovery Priorities, the project will see the improvement of vital sanitation and hygiene practices - like use of hygienic toilets and handwashing with soap - in rural communities across eleven target districts. A total of 504 water points will be constructed / rehabilitated in schools, communities and health facilities with UK aid funding. The goal is to reduce the numbers of deaths and illnesses, such as cholera, caused by poor water and hygiene.
Source: UNICEF Sierra Leone.