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Few months ago (at the end of August 2020 to be more precise), SVAKOM cooperated with DROP IN THE BUCKET, a registered international NGO that has been doing, since 2006, community development by building water and sanitation facilities at schools and communities.
After a very successful campaign ran by SVAKOM for the WEEK OF THE WATER celebration, a well for a health center in Pader, a small village of Uganda, was built in name of SVAKOM and DROP IN THE BUCKET, which aims to provide clean water mainly to the Alim Health Center II.
A regular day at Alim Health Center II
Imelda Amoding is a health assistant at Alim Health Center II in Pader, Uganda. For her, a typical day begins with a trek from the center’s staff quarters to a borehole well in a nearby trading center. Since the center’s well stopped working two months ago, Imelda and the rest of the staff have been making this half a mile walk every morning before work. The center treats 150-200 patients every day, so the amount of water the staff can carry is never enough to last the whole day.
Imelda reports with a resigned look “Most times we are not given special treatment at the borehole. We are made to queue together with the rest of the community members”. This means that not only does the staff walk a mile in the hot Ugandan sun to collect water, but they also wait in a line that can take hours, often making them late to work.
Back at the facility, despite the best efforts of the staff, patients are often missing the water needed to take their medication. In the past, when there was a water source nearby, the patients would use their own containers to get water from the well, now their only option is to go to the staff quarters for water but still that is not enough. Without water to wash the cups between uses, Imelda and the other staff worry about the risk that comes with sharing. The lack of accessible water also means less hand washing, which is a vital part of stopping the spread of coronavirus. As a temporary solution, rainwater is being collected to supplement the water from the healthcare center, but this will be impossible when the dry season hits.
Labong Casey is a center’s cleaner, and more than ever her job is crucial for keeping the facility clean and sanitary during the pandemic. The health center is the first place that anyone in the surrounding communities will go if they suspect they may have the coronavirus. The trips she makes each day combine to a total of five miles just to get the water necessary to keep the facility clean. The extra work leaves her exhausted and aching at the end of the day.
The clinic status
The Alim Health Center II was due to be upgraded to a Health Center III, which would be a significant improvement. With the upgrade they would get a senior clinical officer (very similar to a doctor, which level II health facilities do not have), and a maternity ward. This would allow them to serve the community more effectively, but the decision to upgrade is dependent on patient numbers, which have fallen since the center's well broke down. With patients choosing to go to clinics that may be farther away but have running water, it is almost certain Alim will not be upgraded.
All of that changed with the new well drilled by Drop in the Bucket and funded by Svakom. With its own source of clean water, the health center staff are able to spend more time focusing on their patients and no longer have to waste hours fetching water. The health center is cleaner, more efficient and able to treat more patients each day. This are really looking up at the Alim Health Center II.
Thank you so much for making this well possible, you have made a huge impact of the staff, patients and the local community's lives.