WASH Reflections: Here’s to Good Health
Initiated by Global Water 2020, a “three-year advocacy and facilitation initiative designed to accelerate progress toward water access and security for all people in developing countries,” this commitment helped us to focus many of our clean water projects on strengthening WASH in HCF – something that we were already deeply committed to – while partnering with other organizations to increase global action on the issue.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines the term ‘WASH in health care facilities’ as “the provision of water, sanitation, health care waste management, hygiene and environmental cleaning infrastructure, and services across all parts of a facility.”
According to the WHO, there are currently an estimated 896 million served by facilities lacking running water and 1.5 million without sanitation in those HCFs. Annually, this leads to 8.6 million deaths in 137 low-middle income countries due to inadequate quality of care.
At World Hope we strongly believe that all people deserve safe access to clean water – and that it’s a fundamental part of healthcare facilities and their ability to successfully operate. You can read more about how we made the 2019 WASH in HCF Stakeholder Commitment here.
Our Commitment to WASH in HCF stated that we aimed “to improve WASH in healthcare facilities in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Haiti, and Cambodia” and that we planned “to provide potable water to the Wesleyan Hospital of La Gonâve, Haiti by desalination of brackish groundwater using reverse osmosis to provide free water for the hospital and wholesale water for area drinking water distributors.” It also noted that in partnership with UNDP and PowerGen Renewable Energy, we hoped “to build mini-grid solar power stations in 97 communities in Sierra Leone which will provide free electricity to medical facilities to support their water and power needs.”
A year after making the above commitment, we are excited to be able to celebrate with Global Water 2020 on our collective achievements!
One of our biggest accomplishments this year under the WASH in HCF commitment was the building and completion of a water desalination facility in La Gonâve, Haiti, even amid the turbulence experienced in the country over the past year. This facility not only provides wholesale clean water to the La Gonâve community, it provides the only local hospital with free, freshwater.
Throughout the past year, we continued improving on WASH in HCF capacity in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Not only did we drill new wells and pivot the work to include rehabilitating wells once COVID-19 struck, but we also increased the sanitation and hygiene capacity of healthcare facilities with improved waste management facilities.
“World Hope used its local presence and knowledge to help a mini-grid expert like PowerGen to enter the country, engage, and start operations. International investors tend to look at frontier markets like Sierra Leone and discount them with lots of risk, and that’s one way that small, on-the-ground non-profits like us can help make big opportunities – such as building and connecting 97 mini-grids systems to HCFs – happen. Being on the ground, we tend to have a more nuanced and lower level of risk, and if foreign investors leveraged partnerships with organizations like us more, they’d get a better view of the true risk – and the incredible opportunities.”
World Hope is determined to continue investing in WASH in HCF, focusing efforts on drilling and rehabilitating wells on the grounds of hospitals and healthcare facilities in Sierra Leone and Liberia, improving waste management and hygiene systems, and continuing to look for innovative means of supporting healthcare facility infrastructures with systems like the PowerGen mini-grids.
“Our main takeaway from the COVID-19 crisis is that improving access to WASH facilities at the household, school, and clinic levels is essential to protect one’s health, especially from human-to-human transmitted virus…In a country where a big portion of the population still lacks access to basic WASH services, it could have been a real sanitary catastrophe, as it has been for so many developing countries.”
The need for WASH in HCF has only hightened during this crisis. We don’t believe that our commitment ends with the work we have done over the past year, but rather that it was only the starting place. That is why we are continuing our commitment to WASH in HCF. Our work is far from over, but we feel a renewed sense of urgency and commitment to partner with communities to enable access to clean water and sanitation.
Our goal is to work ourselves out of this job, because healthcare facilities should all have clean water and proper sanitation and hygiene – and with the concentrated – committed- efforts of governments, NGO’s, the private sector, and individuals, then maybe one day, they will.
Clean water and the power it has to transform communities and the lives of individuals is an important part of World Hope International’s work around the world.
You can support our global efforts to achieve SDGs with a gift to The Hope Fund.