Irish humanitarian aid agency GOAL is partnering with ElectricAid - the social justice arm of ESB and Eirgrid - to support over 60,000 people in Malawi in south-eastern Africa with clean water and sanitation infrastructure as the country battles a second wave of COVID-19.
Thanks to ElectricAid GOAL has embarked on a programme to supply fresh water and sanitation to two health centres which don’t have running water due to broken pumps, a situation which is seriously hampering efforts to control disease and infection and to keep the population safe from the COVID-19 virus.
GOAL is installing sanitation infrastructure – including two solar pumps – in two health centres in Blantyre, the commercial capital of Malawi. It will also provide staff with vital PPE and the centres with basic hygiene items including soap and buckets as part of strengthening infection prevention and control protocols. The two health facilities in Dziwe and Madziabango, serve a community of over 60,000 people.
Under the ElectricAid funded project, GOAL will work closely with staff at the two health facilities in consultation with the district level health authorities. All staff at these two health facilities will benefit directly from training and support provided by the project and the wider catchment population of the two facilities of more than 60,000 people will indirectly benefit from the improvements in their water, sanitation and hygiene status.
A total of 65 health care workers based out of the two targeted health facilities, including clinicians, nurses, and health surveillance assistants, will benefit directly from capacity building interventions as well as supplies of PPE. 10 Health Centre Advisory Committee members and 20 Infection Prevention Committee members will also be benefitting directly.
GOAL Malawi Country Director, Philippa Sackett, thanked ElectricAid and staff of ESB and EirGrid for their valuable support which will have a hugely positive impact on the lives of thousands of people living in difficult circumstances.
She said: “A functioning water supply, adequate sanitation, and strong hygiene protocols are crucial elements of the functionality of any health centre, and this is particularly true in the fight against COVID-19. Sanitation infrastructure at these facilities is seriously inadequate, particularly for solid waste disposal. Good hygiene practices and broader infection prevention and control protocols are only sporadically followed. This work will have an enormous positive impact.”
Malawi is one of the poorest countries in Africa and its critically inadequate health system has been struggling as the country battles a severe second wave of Covid-19. Cases have increased 40% since the start of 2021.
Since the onset of COVID-19, GOAL has reached over 17 million people across its 14 countries of operation in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, with COVID-19 messaging and support. This includes over 1.4 million people who have been given access to clean water supplies.
The two health facilities in Malawi are just a fraction of the 900 health centres GOAL has supported in its countries since the onset of COVID-19. In total these 900 centres serve over 4.5 million people, primarily in Sierra Leone and Ethiopia.
ElectricAid is a registered charity and the social justice and development fund of ESB and EirGrid Staff and pensioners. It is generously supported by matching funds from ESB and EirGrid. It is a separate entity, with its own constitution.
ElectricAid provides funding for small development projects in Ireland, Europe and the developing world that aim for long-term sustainable improvement in well-being of communities.
Projects are evaluated by the ElectricAid selection committee according to strict criteria and are usually sponsored by partners in the local areas who have a proven track record. Projects are monitored over the course of their lifetime, and have been shown to have huge impacts on the lives of the poorest people.