WaterAid Malawi moves to address sanitation and hygiene deficits in 150 health centres by 2025

WaterAid International –  an international non-profit making organization working in the water, sanitation and hygiene sector – has rolled out a multimillion kwacha project, which aims to improve access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities in 150 health centres by 2025.

The organization says this aims at complementing efforts by the Malawi Government to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

WaterAid Malawi Country Director Mercy Masoo, speaking during a tour that took journalists to Machinga and Zomba, said the project has already reached out to 33 health facilities in Kasungu, Machinga, Nkhotakota, Ntchisi, Lilongwe and Ntcheu.

Masoo–We are complementing efforts by the Malawi Government to achieve Universal Health Coverage

The tour was organized to enable journalists to appreciate some of the achievements made in selected health facilities that are benefiting from the project.

“Our healthcare facilities in Malawi do lack basic needs such as safe water, sanitation and hygiene, which is contributing to failure by the country to reach UHC recommendations. In order to complement government’s efforts to provide quality healthcare services, as an organization, we do have a programme called 150 Health Facilities Challenge where we want to make sure that we want to support the improvement of water, sanitation and hygiene in 150 health facilities out of which we are going to do direct support to 75 of these health care facilities, said Masoo.

She added, “As WaterAid, we are also asking other partners to join the campaign by supporting the other 75 health Care Facilities in order to beat our 2025 target. According to our estimates, out of 600 health care facilities plus at least 300 health care facilities do need attention as far as improvement of water, sanitation and hygiene is concerned.”

Masoo called upon government, civil society organizations (CSOs), development partners and non-state actors to invest more resources towards sustainable WASH infrastructure and interventions in health facilities across Malawi.

Masoo thanked GIZ for supporting the Delivery Life 2 project as WaterAid is currently expanding its reach to improve WASH services in 15 additional health facilities in a project valued at €600, 000.

District Nursing and Midwifery Officer at Machinga District Health Office, Memory Bwanali, thanked WaterAid for constructing bathrooms and toilets at Kawinga and Chikwewo Health Centres.

Bwanali said before the construction of the facilities, women were using toilets as bathrooms.

“The construction of these facilities like bathrooms and toilets has really helped for women to start delivering in the hospitals in the past the women used not come to the hospitals because they were unhappy with the facility, but now they are able to come to the hospitals in large numbers to deliver and it has reduced the number of home deliveries,” she said.

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Water and Sanitation, Elias Chimulambe, said the ministry has established a Department of Sanitation and Hygiene, which will help to improve sanitation and hygiene.

Chimlambe said the ministry will soon be recruiting personnel who will be working hand in hand with partners across the country.

One of the Deliver Life 2 project implementers, District Civic Education Officer for NICE Trust in Zomba and Machinga, Kondwani Newa, said they have engaged all the committees at the facilities to protect and manage the facilities to ensure that they are secured.

The project is funded by the Scottish Government to the tune of MK1.9 billion through WaterAid and implemented by National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) Public Trust and Amref Health Africa.

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