Communities reaping benefits of integrated activities long after project ends

Report
from African Medical and Research Foundation
Published on 27 Mar 2013 View Original

“Before this Primary Health Care Unit was constructed, people had to go for health services to the Juba Teaching Hospital, which is very far from here. Everyone, especially mothers, is very happy now because AMREF has helped to bring these services nearer. We received long-lasting mosquito nets so our children no longer suffer frequently from malaria. We were also taught about prevention of HIV/AIDS and malaria.

The borehole drilled by AMREF has reduced the distance to water sources, saving us a lot of time. AMREF has further trained us on management of water sources and provided us with tools to repair the boreholes in case they break down. However, we do not have enough maintenance tools. Because we are now using clean water, our children are safe from illnesses related to water.” – Daniel Christopher, Health Management committee member, Jebel Primary Health Care Unit.

AMREF’s integrated Public Health Care and Water and Sanitation Project in Juba County, Central Equatoria, which was implemented from November 2009 to February 2012, has had a lasting positive impact on the lives of communities that for years had limited access to health services, clean water and sanitation facilities. Though the project came to close last year, the people continue to benefit from the services and structures that were established.

Funded by AECID through AMREF Spain, the project addressed Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) as well as Primary Health Care. Its objectives included improving primary health care infrastructure and services in Juba County; increasing access to safe water and sanitation infrastructure and hygiene; increasing awareness of prevention of HIV/AIDs and other diseases and strengthening the management and service provision capacity of Ministry of Health authorities, medical workers and community members.

To improve primary health care services, the project focused on construction of ten boreholes, five latrines in schools and three primary health care units. The project also equipped four health facilities and undertook rehabilitation of existing ones; equipping and furnishing of the facilities; supply of essential emergency drugs and laboratory reagents to primary health care facilities, and distribution of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets to pregnant women and children under the age of five.

The WASH component focused on increasing sustained access to safe water and sanitation facilities, as well as hygiene promotion, in order to reduce water- related illnesses and deaths. Establishment of community structures such as water management committees and supply of borehole maintenance kits to water mechanics ensures that the facilities stay operational.

Therefore, though the project ended, it has proved to be sustainable as activities are still being conducted through the established community structures. “We used to fetch drinking water from the river before this borehole was drilled. I used to walk for about an hour to get to the river. Now I only have to walk for five minutes to the borehole. There is a big difference between the river and the borehole water. The river water was dirty and contaminated with animal and human waste. Many villagers suffered from diarrhoea. The borehole water is clean and healthy, so we don’t suffer from diarrhoea these days. We thank AMREF for this borehole.” – Kiden Margretta, Munuki payam, Gudele area.

WASH in South Sudan

55% of the population in South Sudan has access to improved sources of drinking water

67% of the urban population has access to improved sources of drinking water compared with 53% of the rural population

38% of the population in South Sudan has to walk for more than 30 minutes one way to fetch drinking water

80% of the country’s population does not have access to toilet facilities

60% of households own at least one mosquito net