By: Enock Mnyenyembe
The White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood ( WRASM) Malawi, is advocating for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene ( WASH) in health care facilities inorder to contribute to the reduction of maternal and newborn deaths in the country.
This will be achieved through the implementation of a _ one year WASH in Health Care Facilities ( HCF) project that WRASM will implement in Chitipa, Dowa and Zomba districts with funding from International Rescue Committee of Netherlands.
WRASM National Coordinator, Nancy Kamwendo, said the aim of the project is to advocate for the district WASH budget line through empowering community members and community structures with messages regarding the importance of WASH funding and services in health care facilities so that they should demand for WASH budget line and services.
Kamwendo said the project started with WASH assessment in sampled health facilities in the targeted districts inorder to generate evidence for WASH advocacy work with the purpose of improving provision of WASH services by 30% in health facilities in the stated districts.
She said that the overall goal of the project is to see women of reproductive age are receiving quality maternal services where their are functional WASH facilities, clean labour wards, toilets and surroundings to achieve infection prevention at facility level.
The National Coordinator lamented that the assessment found that there are unclean labour wards, toilets, no running water, leaking water tanks, and one ground labour which lead to poor management of the surroundings in some health facilities.
She urged chiefs, District Health Management Teams ( DHMT), District Executive Committee, Health Centre Management Committees, WRASM volunteers and community members to play a leading role in ensuring that health facilities are monitored with regard to WASH service provision and that there is a budget line for WASH at district level.
During the WASH assessment findings feedback meeting in Dowa, Chizolowondo Health Centre Midwife Technician, Felix Mtwana, said that soon after the assessment, Health Centre Management Committees met to discuss issues that the assessment team raised about the facility and they agreed to approach School of Agriculture for Family Independence ( SAFI) and had responded favourably by connecting electricity to facility, improving water supply and plumbing system and there is running water now with renovation of the facility, construction of placenta pit, drainage system, toilets and kitchen.
Meanwhile, a visit to some health care facilities where WRASM team conducted assessment proved that most facilities have improved interms of WASHH service provision in the targeted districts.