Last week marked the official handover of the Resolution to Revolution Project: A New Reality for WASH in Healthcare Facilities Project that OCA have been delivering in Sesheke and Mwandi Districts of Western Province in partnership with WaterAid Zambia.
We were privileged to have her Honour the Vice President of the Republic of Zambia, Mrs Mutale W.K. Nalumango, officially open Katima Mulilo Healthcare Facility for use and facilitate the handover of an additional 19 sites in Western Province and 23 in Southern Province.
Improved water, sanitation and hygiene facilities are critical to increase access to high quality healthcare and for preventing facility-acquired infections and improving maternal and neonatal health outcomes.
We are proud to have worked with Sesheke and Mwandi Districts, as well as Western Province Provincial Health Office and engaged communities to deliver this meaningful project.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Healthcare Facilities (HCFs) is fundamental to the provision of quality healthcare services, particularly for children and pregnant and lactating mothers. Inadequate and inappropriate WASH services lead to an increased risk of infections and disease for users and healthcare workers. The Joint Monitoring Programme carried out by WHO and UNICEF (2019) revealed that only 1 in 5 rural HCFs in Zambia have access to improved water on premises, improved sanitation, and consistent access to water and soap for hand washing.
In 2021 WaterAid supported the Ministry of Health to develop new national standards for WASH in Healthcare facilities in Zambia, that would help to address the gaps in provision.
On Call Africa have been working with WaterAid and the Ministry of Health to make these newly developed standards a reality and to deliver work with 20 healthcare facilities and their surrounding to communities.
The R2R project aims to:
- Improve maternal and child health
- Increase the number of safe deliveries at healthcare facilities
- Improve accessibility of facilities
- Reduce facility acquired infections
- Reduce the prevalence of water borne diseases at community level
- Build a strong evidence base for wider government investment in WASH in healthcare facilities .
On Call Africa supported multi-disciplinary teams to carry out detailed assessments of each facilities needs, and design tailored programmes to help address identified gaps. The work carried out reflected the needs of each facility and prioritised the renovation and improvement of existing water sources and buildings where possible. Construction work carried out at each site included: drilling boreholes, constructing maternity annexes, installing water networks and handwashing facilities and making facilities accessible. Throughout each construction project we supported district government teams to lead the design, procurement and management processes to ensure the sustainability of the project.
In addition to supporting infrastructure improvements, On Call Africa worked with MoH and government teams to train and support healthworkers and community champions to spread vital hygiene behaviour change messages to help reduce the incidence and spread of facility and community water borne diseases.
We also supported the establishment of community WASH committees to promote social accountability and the sustainability of the work. Established committees were supported to come up with detailed plans to help maintain the infrastructure, and to ensure that income is generated and saved to meet the costs of basic repairs.
We are so proud to have been a part of this crucial work and be able to take learning from this project to support our wider work.
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