Back in 2016, VHP – along with our amazing partners – completed an assessment of 14 health facilities in rural Ethiopia. The findings were eye-opening. All facilities lacked year-round access to clean water, most facilities had stick and mud latrines, most instruments lacked proper sterilization, all facilities lacked working hand washing stations, and many lacked critical medical supplies. These health facilities became deadly for patients and providers alike.
We could no longer ignore the connection between WASH and maternal health. Access to clean water and sanitation is absolutely essential to providing safe healthcare.
These findings led to the creation of the WASH and Maternal Health Initiative at Village Health Partnership. Phase One of this project is now complete. We constructed maternity waiting areas, increased access to clean water, cleaned facilities and compounds, implemented fences biohazard areas and placenta pits, put in hand-washing stations, and trained healthcare providers in clean and safe sanitation practices.
Now, in Phase Two – we aim to bring clean water to the Bachuma District Hospital and Chebera Health Facility.
The Bachuma District Hospital was constructed roughly three years ago but has yet to fully open due to inadequate water supply. The Bachuma Hospital provides a critical link in the healthcare system in the West Omo Zone. Without water, it can only offer limited labor and delivery services, with many women forced to travel long distances for emergency obstetric care, many dying on the way.
Working with our Ethiopian partners, Engineers Without Borders, and WEFTA, it was determined that the only viable solution was to drill a well on the hospital’s property.
We are writing to you today to tell you that soon after initiating drilling – We Hit Water! We are one step closer to bringing clean water to the Bachuma District Hospital and providing safe healthcare to the surrounding communities.