Ogago Health Center II – Where the security guard has to leave her post to fetch water every day.
When Christina Owila applied to be the security guard at Ogago Health Center II, she knew her job would include creating a safe and welcoming space for anyone seeking care at the center and potentially heading off any would-be thieves. What she didn’t know was that most of her energy would go towards keeping the center stocked with water.
While there is a school near to the health center that has a well, it is a shallow well rather than a deep borehole well like the ones that Drop in the Bucket drills. It has also been broken for more than a year. During the rainy season, this open well floods with polluted standing water, making the water unsafe to drink. The closest safe water source is a well at the distant trading center, a grueling walk in the hot sun. The trading center’s well also charges for the use of the well, a common practice in Uganda.
Christine wakes up hours before Ogago opens to make sure the center has the water it needs for the day. Whenever possible she makes the long walk to the training center, but money, time restrictions, and high demand mean that more often than not the open well is her only option. The patients at Ogago desperately need water to drink and use to take their medications, and new mothers need safe water so they can sponge bathe their newborns. Using water from the open well puts both new moms and their babies at risk of infection, but any water is better than no water.
Cecilia Avero is the director of Ogago Health Center II. She works tirelessly to find solutions for the water problem, but the center simply does not have the funds for a sustainable solution. The added strain of the coronavirus pandemic has made a difficult situation significantly worse. The new guidelines from Uganda’s Ministry of Health mean that the center has to be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized twice a day, but this added workload also means more time spent walking for water.
Both Cecilia and Christine do everything they can to make sure their patients have clean water and sanitary working conditions for the medical staff, and the burden of the work and keeping the space clean is a lot to deal with. A well at the health center would change everything for the staff at Ogago and would allow them to spend their days with confidence and allow them to focus on their patients without the additional burden of walking for water.
How Can You Help?
Drop in the Bucket is currently running a campaign to raise the money for 20 wells at health centers in Pader district. By providing these healthcare specialists with clean water we can help them better serve their communities and help save lives. But we need your help!
While a single donation may not seem like it will make much of an impact, together we can turn every drop in the bucket into a wave that will change lives for the better. Please consider making a donation so that Cecilia and Christine can do what they do best: provide a safe healing space for their community.
To help Christine and the staff at Ogago Health Center please visit our 20 wells for 2020 clinics campaign.