Clean Water Project Organizes Capacity Building Workshop for Health Workers, Education Staff and Community Leaders
In an effort to improve the water, sanitation and hygiene conditions in primary health care centers and public schools across project states (Delta, Imo and Ondo), HACEY Health Initiative through its clean water project has organized a capacity building workshop to further build the knowledge of health and education workforce as well as community leaders on safe water, proper sanitation and hygiene practices.
Speaking at the workshop, the project lead, Chioma Osakwe, stated that the workshop was aimed at strengthening and increasing the capacity of the health and education workforce and community leaders on knowledge, attitude, and skills needed to improve the school, health center and community water, sanitation and hygiene.
Osakwe highlighted some of the impacts of poor access to WASH facilities, including increased incidence of maternal and neonatal mortality, increased prevalence of water-borne diseases, and school absenteeism, especially amongst girls and minimized earning potential due to poor health outcomes.
She emphasized the need for key stakeholders to take more active roles towards promoting proper water, sanitation and hygiene practices amongst students and women who visit the health center (pregnant women, nursing mothers and mothers).
Also speaking on the need for improved access to WASH facilities, the Executive Director of HACEY Health Initiative, Rhoda Robinson said that global index shows that almost 40% of health facilities lack water supplies, 19% do not have improved sanitation and 35% do not have any hand hygiene materials. In Nigeria, 29% of health care facilities do not have access to safe water and toilets, and 16% do not have handwashing facilities with soap (WHO, UNICEF, 2015). This compromises the ability of the health facility to provide basic and routine services such as child delivery and the ability to prevent and control infection.
The project lead highlighted the need for stronger collaborations between the primary health care centers, schools and the community in establishing systems and structures that ensure water facility is protected and community members consistently practice proper water, sanitation, and hygiene behaviours.
At the end of the training, participants were encouraged to step down knowledge gained from the training to students, patients and other staff. Healthcare workers were also encouraged to include WASH teachings as part of their pre-and post-natal education for pregnant women and nursing mother.
Clean Water Initiative project has successfully increased the availability of basic WASH information and services in 5 primary health care centres and 5 public schools across Ondo, Imo and Delta State through the installation of electricity powered boreholes and handwashing stations and capacity building sessions on safe water and proper sanitation and hygiene practices (WASH).