Changing the way we change the world

Malawi Visit Update 1: Improving healthcare with water, sanitation, hygiene

By Susan Davis, Executive Director

Boy in front of health clinic, near Mzuzu Malawi

Greetings from Lilongwe! I’m visiting Malawi for a few reasons.  All of them relate to improving health with water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) at healthcare facilities and hospitals. Here’s a summary.

  • Central Church of Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Malawi recently worked with Emory University to assess the WASH conditions in 15 healthcare facilities and hospitals in Northern Malawi.  (Did you know that a great number – 50% or more – of health centers are run by faith-based organizations?)
  • The assessment found that conditions could be improved, especially in the areas of handwashing facilities. 
  • This is in line with global findings that 38% of health care facilities do not have an improved water source, 19% do not have improved sanitation and 35% do not have water and soap for handwashing. This lack of services compromises the ability to provide safe and quality care and places both those providing and those seeking care at considerable and preventable risk. 
  • Now CCAP is looking at how to improve these conditions.  They plan to use a tool recently developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), called WASHFIT.  Yesterday I met with Daniel Nyirenda from CCAP to learn more about the context.  Later today, we’ll be meeting with a representative of WHO to learn more about how WASHFIT has been applied so far. 
  • Later in the week, I’ll be visiting the CCAP SMART Centre and one of the hospitals evaluated earlier.

Visit this page to learn more about what US-based organizations are doing on WASH in healthcare facilities.

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