Globally, over 1.8 billion people use health care facilities that lack basic water services and over 800 million people use facilities with no toilets.
Zambia is no exception to this.
The 2018 Demographic and Health Survey sheds a light on WASH conditions in Zambia:
- 64% of the population uses basic drinking water services (87% in urban areas, 49% in rural areas)
- 33% of the population uses a basic sanitation service (41% in urban areas, 28% in rural areas)
- 10% of the population practices open defecation (1% in urban areas, 16% in rural areas)
- 24% of the population has access to basic hygiene services, i.e. a handwashing facility with soap and water (36% urban, 15% rural)
The provision of WASH in health care facilities is imperative to prevent of infections and spread of disease, protect healthcare staff and patients, and the uphold of the dignity of vulnerable populations, including pregnant women and the disabled.
The 2019 World Health Assembly Resolution on WASH in health care facilities urges countries to address such WASH-related issues. WHO and UNICEF are seeking commitments from Governments, partners, organisations, and individuals in line with this Resolution. It is through this call that WaterAid Zambia (WAZ) have supported development of national guidelines in partnership with the Ministry of Health (MoH), and pioneered this work in Zambia in 2022, with On Call Africa.
In 2021 we entered into a formal partnership with WaterAid to support government led improvements to maternity annexes, water, sanitation, hygiene, accessibility and waste management in 20 rural healthcare facilities in Western Province, to ensure that they achieved the new national standards for WASH in healthcare facilities. In 2022 we are really proud to have achieved the following in Mwandi and Sesheke Districts: :
- Improved waste management infrastructure at 20 healthcare facilities
- Installed water networks and inclusive toilets at 15 healthcare facilities
- Improved maternal healthcare infrastructure at 19 healthcare facilities
- 190 handwashing stations installed in health facilities and nearvy schools
- 16,220 people reached with hygiene behaviour change messages
- 75,000 people with improved access to inclusive sanitation
“We really appreciate for the project that has happened, it is a dream come true. You know, this facility was opened in 1993, and from then, we have never had water before. We are very thankful.”
Gertrude, nurse in charge, Mukusi Rural Health Centre