By David A. Yates
Kunue Massally, executive director of SHALOM Incorporated, says the government has assured to improve water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities located at healthcare settings to avoid infectious diseases among healthcare givers, patients and the community.
Mr. Massally made the statement recently at his Rehab Road office in Paynesville, when he briefed journalists on the WASH Healthcare Facilities Paper developed by SHALOM, a local health-related NGO in collaboration with officers-in-charge from government-owned health facilities.
He said the commitment was expressed in various policy documents, including the National Health Policy, the Ministry of Health (MOH), WASH and environmental health guidelines developed and adopted in October 2015.
Massally said WASH in healthcare facilities will be directly controlled and monitored by the Ministry of Public Works (MPW), MOH, Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy, Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC).
As per the document, all the county health teams and the 68 district heath teams will implement and monitor the WASH program.
He said that these agencies should be able to provide five 400 liters of water per person per day, from underground, surface and elevated water storage tanks, including piping constructed at the various health facilities.
“There shall be regular water quality testing and results made available to healthcare facilities, and onsite running water supply available in all outpatient and inpatient treatment locations,” Massally said.
“We urge the MOH to rehabilitate and restore running water systems in health facilities, recondition and make available safe drinking water from hand pumps. And also construct modern hand pumps and rehabilitate existing sanitation at health facilities where the need exits.”
Lusu D. Gibson, a WASH officer, said with funding from WaterAid, the entity has collaborated with the MOH to ensure that the issue of WASH in healthcare facilities is prioritized.
“Our role is to advocate by engaging government and health partners to reform policies, support and influence the delivery of improved WASH services in healthcare settings,” Mrs. Gibson said.