In times of drought, GOAL and its partner the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) has installed water and sanitation infrastructure in healthcare facilities in Ethiopia
Addisu Mezemir is a nurse at the Obi Health Centre. 2020 has been one of the busiest years on record for him and his colleagues. The Covid-19 pandemic has seen the centre stretched to its limits. To make matters worse, the centre did not have proper sanitation or water facilities.
But now thanks to GOAL and ECHO, new water infrastructure has been installed at many locations like the Obi Centre, meaning Addisu can ensure a higher quality of sanitation for his patients.
The Obi Health centre provides essential primary healthcare to 25,000 people each year. Due to the pandemic this number has almost certainly risen in 2020, as Ethiopia has seen over 100,000 cases of the virus. Located in the Oromia region, this project aims to improve the water and sanitation infrastructure at various locations such as the health centre.
Addisu says “previously the Obi centre had no proper water system. Much of our water was bought and imported by animal transport, this is how limited our capacity had become.”
Currently, many of these centres have poor sanitation which can lead to patients and staff becoming ill, putting more pressure on the health system. In the age of Covid, we know that proper hygiene and sanitation is a key tool in the fight against the virus.
By upgrading the WASH infrastructure, GOAL seeks to reduce morbidity and mortality rates which come as a result of water related illness’ such as cholera.
Much of Ethiopia is affected by drought. The majority of drought-affected communities do not have access to sufficient and safe water for drinking and their daily water consumption, and due to the lack of developed water schemes at the source of the rivers and open spring water sources, many water sources are home to diseases.
GOAL Ethiopia Director Dinkneh Asfaw says “Drought is one of the leading causes of hunger and malnutrition in Ethiopia. Another more hidden consequence of drought is the effect a lack of water has on healthcare. As we in GOAL focus our activities on combatting Covid-19, installing more sustainable water infrastructure in health centres will further our success in preventing the spread of covid and other potentially fatal diseases”.
In Obi Kebel Health Center, there were no safe and adequate water supply service and sanitation facilities. Now the staff such as Addisu can be confidant that they can treat their patients without fearing contamination and spreading disease from the water supply.