Ghana has constructed mechanised boreholes and installed solar panels for several health centres in the Upper West Region to improve sanitation and hygiene and bolster health service delivery in deprived communities.
The Wa Municipal Assembly and the Health Directorate, in partnership with WaterAid, are implementing the WASH for Health Care Centres Project at the cost of 190,000.00 Ghana cedis.
It is being funded by Honkong Shangai Banking Corporation to support healthcare facilities in Busa, Charia, Chariangu and Boli, all in the Wa Municipality, which were recommended by the authorities to improve water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). Mrs Yvonne Kafui Nyarko, the Communication and Campaign Officer of WaterAid Ghana, told journalists during a field visit to the communities that the project sought to address problems of water scarcities in health centres and prevent infections due to absence of running water.
“A lot of new borns do not survive within the first few weeks of their lives because in some of the hospitals where they were born, hygiene cannot be practiced effectively because there is no running water even to ensure that health workers prevent infections,” she said. “And this is very wrong, it is unacceptable so if we want our new borns and new mothers to survive, we have to ensure that our healthcare facilities have basic amenities such as water, sanitation and hygiene”.
Mrs Susana Tuogali, the Physician Assistant (Medical), in-charge of Busa Health Centre, said before mechanising the borehole and supply of the solar power, health workers had to carry buckets in search of water to assist patients and for handwashing to maintain hygiene.
“Sometimes they had to request community members to fetch water for the Centre that records 600 to 700 out-patients and referring about 49 patients every month to the Upper West Regional Hospital in Wa,” she said. “Before the mechanization of the water system, it was very difficult for us. At times we used to ask the community people to fetch us water, even after a procedure it was very difficult to get water to wash our hands.” “There is no borehole in the facility so you can imagine how we were suffering, a pregnant woman would come and deliver after that she can’t even get water to wash herself before she goes home”. Mrs Tuogali said the Centre recorded about 20 deliveries every month and the two facilities would enhance health service delivery and cut down electricity cost significantly.
She said another challenge the Centre faced was the lack of toilet facility and that WaterAid had provided a seven-seater toilet (near completion) with changing rooms to each of the health centres in the communities.