Nearly 20,000 children in West Nile will benefit from improved water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services, thanks to a grant from the Government of Iceland.
The funding is targeting four health centers and seven schools with limited WASH facilities but provide services to numerous patients and learners, including both South Sudanese refugees and host communities. Communities surrounding the targeted health centers and schools will also benefit from the services.
“Supporting the construction of WASH facilities that meet national standards for health facilities and schools will contribute to a conducive environment for patients, caregivers, health workers, learners and teachers,” said H.E Unnur Orradóttir Ramette, Ambassador of Iceland in Uganda.
“We are, therefore, happy to learn that our support will contribute to the reduction of child mortality and morbidity and prevent WASH-related diseases in West Nile region,” added Ambassador Ramette.
A WASH conditions assessment conducted in 99 health centres in West Nile revealed that 85 per cent of the health centres had limited water supply due to lack of reliable water sources within their premises.
The health centres sampled rely mainly on rain water harvesting during the rainy season. However, many of the rain water harvesting structures are non-functional.
The situation in schools is not any different, given that only a few schools meet the recommended pupil stance ratio of 40:1. Majority of the schools in West Nile are far above the national average pupil stance ratio of 70:1.
The funds from Iceland will benefit the districts of Arua and Yumbe, targeting 50 per cent refugees and 50 per cent host communities. Specifically, the contribution will support:
• The provision of 11 mini solar powered water supply facilities including drilling of a new borehole fitted with a solar powered pump and the provision of a 10,000-litre storage tank;
• The construction of gender-friendly drainable latrines, handwashing stations and incinerators. This will involve the provision of 11 toilets and bathrooms with suitable fittings for ease of use by pregnant women and women who deliver at the health centres. In addition, the girls’ washrooms in the 7 schools will be equipped with water for menstrual hygiene management;
• Training of 11 institutional WASH management structures on hygiene promotion, and operation and maintenance of WASH facilities in health centres and schools;
• Training of school management committees and school health clubs on menstrual hygiene management; and
• Sanitation and hygiene promotion in areas around the schools and health centre.
“UNICEF aims to increase access to sanitation and ensure sustainable WASH services in underserved areas including provision of WASH facilities in schools and health centres. Investments in WASH service provision for schools and health centres will create a favourable atmosphere for learning and a better healthcare environment for women and children,” said UNICEF’s Representative in Uganda, Dr. Doreen Mulenga.
“We are grateful for the support from the Iceland Government that will contribute to a reduction of water borne diseases among refugee children and host communities,”
Dr. Mulenga added.
About Icelandic International Development Cooperation
Iceland has focused on the development needs of Uganda since year 2000 and contributed specifically to WASH initiatives, sanitation and education. Humanitarian assistance as well as the implementation of selected SDG goals; the protection of the environment, the promotion of human rights, gender equality, peace and security and fight against social injustice, disparity in living conditions, hunger and poverty all constitute the fundaments of the Icelandic International Development Cooperation.