From Unsafe Water to a Better Solution
Located in the Pader district of northern Uganda, the Angole Health Center II used to struggle to provide basic care to its patients. The reason was a lack of clean water. Located near a trading center, the health center serves both as a place of work and a home for the medical professionals who work there. However, its lack of a clean water source made it difficult for staff to effectively care for patients.
Before the well
Awor Margaret, a midwife at the health center, explained that the staff used to fetch water from a borehole at a nearby primary school, which was also used by the local community. This meant that medical staff had to leave patients waiting while they went to collect water. The water generally lasted until the afternoon, allowing staff to see around 50 patients per day. But if they were too tired to fetch more water, they had to turn patients away and ask them to come back the next day.
In times of crisis, such as when the borehole broke down, the nearest water source was an open stream two kilometers away. Oyella Ketty, a nurse at the health center, remembers the risks and ramifications of healthcare workers leaving patients waiting while they walked for water.
The water from the stream was not safe to drink, as Awor Margaret recalls seeing organisms swimming in it. But with no other options, the medical staff had to give it to patients for drinking and swallowing tablets.
The new well
Thanks to a new well, however, the Angole Health Center II now has access to all the clean water it needs for drinking, hand washing, treating sick children, and cleaning the facility. In fact, the Ministry of Health now requires that all healthcare facilities in Uganda be cleaned twice per day in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Without the new well, meeting this requirement would have been impossible.
Oyella Ketty looks at the people getting water from the new well and her face lights up. She explains that the borehole provides all the water the community needs and that the staff is now able to care for all of their patients without fear of running out of water.
The new well has been a game-changer for the Angole Health Center II and the local community. No longer do the medical staff have to worry about leaving patients waiting while they fetch water, or about giving their patients unsafe water to drink. Now, they are able to focus on providing the best possible care to their patients and serving the community to the best of their ability.
But the struggles of the Angole Health Center II are not unique. Across Uganda, many communities face challenges when it comes to access to clean water. This is a problem that disproportionately affects women and children, who are often responsible for collecting water for their families.
The efforts of organizations like Drop in the Bucket are critical in addressing this issue and improving the lives of communities in Uganda and beyond. By working to provide access to clean water, these organizations are helping to improve health, education, and economic opportunities for people in need.
The story of the Angole Health Center II is a testament to the transformative power of clean water and the positive impact it can have on communities. It is a reminder of the importance of supporting efforts to bring clean water to those who need it most.