Juba, 15 March 2018 – Access to adequate water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services in health care facilities (HCFs) is essential for the provision of quality care.
In South Sudan, WASH in HCFs is one of the neglected areas within the health systems. Thus, establishing WASH in HCFs is crucial to prevent the risks of health care acquired infection among health care facility staff, patients, caregivers and the wider community.
To strengthen infection prevention and control in primary HCFs; improve the hygiene of oral medication in HCFs and stabilization centers and proper waste segregation management and final treatment, WHO trained over 35 participants drawn from 20 health cluster partners to enhance the capacity of the front line health cluster partners with the necessary skills to mitigate health risks at facility level.
Integrating WASH services in HCFs not only improves infection prevention control (IPC), waste management, water supply and sanitation but also strengthens health systems and improve quality at the point of health service delivery, says Mr Alex Freeman, WASH Focal Person for WHO South Sudan.
Improved sanitation, appropriate waste disposal and hygiene are vital to reduce public health risks in HCFs. The theoretical and practical training held ensures the availability of appropriate and equitable services to address the immediate WASH needs in HCFs and develop comprehensive WASH in health care facilities standards.
Preventing, detecting and responding to epidemic prone disease outbreaks and promoting WASH in HCFs in conflict affected areas is one of the strategic areas of the health cluster, says Ms Magda Armah, Health Cluster Coordinator. The Health Cluster integrated WASH as a pre-requisite of the essential service delivery package to ensure the quality, effectiveness, and use of health care services.
We are very grateful to South Sudan Humanitarian Fund (SSHF), which provided financial support for WHO’s emergency WASH programme which is an integral element of the basic health services, said Mr Evans Liyosi, WHO Representative a.i. for South Sudan. WHO focuses on addressing the concerns of the WASH services in health care facilities and ensure the availability of appropriate and equitable WASH services to facilitate safe disposal and improved waste management.
In 2017, WHO assessed 15 health facilities to obtain a complete overview with the essential details for water and sanitation needs of health facilities.
WHO’s involvement in emergency WASH will continue with an increased focus on related activities in health facilities and communities to improve the quality of care and interaction between providers and patients.