LIBERIA: SHALOM releases WASH findings at Health Centers…calls for government’s intervention

By: WASH R&E “Media” Network – A local NGO, SHALON Incorporated has released findings on a survey conducted at some health facilities in Montserrado County. Five of the seven facilities accessed have infectious Committee, while there are no terms of reference, according to SHALON.

Contrary to health policy, five of the health centers do not have mortuary.

SHALOM Executive Director, Kunue Massally

SHALOM Executive Director, Kunue Massally

The report with support from WaterAid Liberia and Sierra Leone, also indicated that WASH facilities are available at the health centers, but lack pipe borne water system.

Meanwhile, the local NGO has proffered several recommendations aimed at improving Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services at health facilities across the country.

SHALON is calling for the rehabilitation and restoration of pipe borne water system in health facilities.

The group wants government to conduct regular test on water quality and construct modern and rehabilitate existing toilets at health facilities.

Addressing WASH Reporters during a Media Brief Tuesday at its offices in Paynesville, SHALON Executive Director, Kunue Massally called for the rehabilitation of damaged hand pumps at health facilities to enable patients have access to safe drinking water.

Mr. Kunue indicated that from their survey, it was discovered that regular national and county level visitations were made with the goal of monitoring health facilities.

He wants the government take practical action in addressing findings from the monitoring conducted by his organization.

SHALOM is also calling on development partners to support plans of health facilities to roll out Infectious Protection Committee Strategy.

As part of its key recommendations, SHALOM also calls for the capacity of Districts, Ministries, health facilities and Civil Society Organizations and support Civil Society Advocacy Initiatives on IPC engagement.

SHALOM WASH Officer, Lusu Gibson

SHALOM WASH Officer, Lusu Gibson

Meanwhile, the local NGO is urging civil society to plan and implement awareness initiatives on infectious Protection Committee or WASH in Health Facilities.

The group at the same time wants civil society to engage in regular monitoring and evaluation of WASH and Environmental Health packages in health facilities policy documents.

On the issue of water and sanitation, the group is requesting the government to also ensure that toilets and bathrooms be accessible, gender separated, user friendly, disability friendly and sufficient to all users.

While on the aspect of water, the group asserted that there should be 5-400 liters of water per person per day, underground, surface, and elevated water storage tanks amongst others.

SHALOM has informed WASH Media that findings from the assessment had been shared with health facilities in Montserrado, Grand Bassa and Margibi Counties with key recommendations to the Ministry of Health.

Providing an overview of the Healthy Start Briefing, the WASH Officer of SHALOM, Lusu Gibson revealed that the program focuses on ensuring that new born and children’s health and nutrition are improved through access to water, sanitation and hygiene at birth and during their time of development.

With funding from WaterAid, Madam Gibson indicated that her organization has worked with the Ministry of Health to train 75 health workers from 15 health facilities.

She said these health workers were trained on WASH in Health Facilities package developed by the Ministry of Health.

The SHALON WASH Officer said in collaboration with WaterAid, her organization is currently concluding pipe borne water system at the pipeline health center.

She said the concern of her organization is on sustainability and the role of the government in the process of sustaining WASH at health facilities.