The Bachuma hospital’s construction was completed roughly three years ago, however, it has yet to open due to an inadequate water supply. Due to this shortage, the hospital is unable to provide comprehensive care to the surrounding communities. VHP is committed to raising funds to construct a well and assisting in the installation.
The Bachuma hospital, located in the Bench Maji Zone in South Western Ethiopia, serves Bachuma, the surrounding communities, and local villages. Its construction was completed roughly three years ago, however, it has yet to open due to an inadequate water supply. While complete services cannot be provided, patients continue to visit the maternity waiting areas built by VHP. Since the hospital does not have access to clean and sanitary water, it cannot treat many patients.
Partnering with WEFTA and Rotary, we are dedicated to bringing clean water to the Bachuma hospital. Together, we are planning to install a well on the hospital’s grounds. This well is estimated to serve over 200,000 people in the surrounding communities.
This project will bring clean and sanitary water to the Bachuma hospital, decreasing the risk for communicable diseases and allowing the hospital to provide effective healthcare to the local community.
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Over the last year, Village Health Partnership (VHP) has been working for safer motherhood in rural Ethiopia. Due to the exceptional generosity of our donors, we have continued to implement programs that align with our mission to prevent maternal and neonatal death in childbirth and to treat and prevent gynecologic complications in rural Ethiopia.
Our newest project focuses on the Bachuma District Hospital located in the Me’enite tribal area in the West Omo Zone (formerly the Bench Maji Zone) in Southwestern Ethiopia. Construction of the hospital was completed three years ago. However, the hospital has been unable to open because it lacks an adequate supply of clean water.
The Ethiopian government is encouraging women to come into health facilities for safer delivery. The Bachuma Hospital forms a critical link in the healthcare system in the West Omo Zone. Without water, it can offer only limited labor and delivery services. Its operating rooms, critical care unit, and inpatient wards remain closed. As a result, high-risk pregnant women must travel long distances to the regional hospital in Mizan in order to access emergency obstetric care (C section). Many mothers and babies die on the way.
The Bachuma Hospital is not alone. In 2016 VHP performed a survey of 14 health facilities in rural Ethiopia to determine if these facilities had the capacity to provide pregnant women and infants with essential medical care. We found that most facilities lacked basic infrastructure for maternal health and that none of the facilities had access to an adequate supply of water that would allow medical providers to practice clean and safe healthcare.
As a result, together with the Ethiopian government, community leaders and the Ethiopian NGO Afro Ethiopia Integrated Development we formed a pilot project to remedy the problem. Under Phase I of the project we constructed maternity waiting areas with kitchens, showers and pit latrines, created access to clean water, cleaned facilities and compounds, implemented fenced biohazard areas, put in handwashing stations in patient care areas and trained healthcare providers on the importance of clean and safe healthcare in five medical facilities including the Bachuma Hospital. Phase I is complete with the exception of access to clean water in two of the facilities. Now in Phase II, we turn our attention to creating an adequate supply of clean water for the Bachuma Hospital.
Working with our Ethiopian partners, Engineers Without Borders and Water Engineers for the Americus and Africa it was determined that the only viable solution to the water problem at the hospital was to drill a well on the hospital compound and then to connect that well with existing water storage tanks. We hope to begin the construction of the well in January.