Saving lives by working with local health professionals
Published on: 01/08/2022
"From the WASH FIT2 trainings received from IRC Mali, we learnt that an improved water, sanitation and hygiene service not only helps establish good cleanliness in the maternity ward - by keeping toilets, equipment and the facility's outdoor areas tidy - but is also linked to avoiding certain diseases and their transmissions, protecting staff, patients, visitors and even the community."
- Fatoumata Coulibaly, Matron of the Maternity Hospital of Dourako, municipality of Nossombougou.
Training in Mali has helped health care facility workers to understand the importance of WASH in their work and then apply it.
According to Fatoumata Coulibaly, an essential element of hospital cleanliness had been forgotten. "Maternity speaks of childbirth, which also is inherently linked to the bed where a child is born. The very essence of our existence is linked to the latter."
Unfortunately, the beds in the hospital in Dourako were in poor condition. And it took another service assessment and visit by IRC along with World Vision and the senior district health leader from the Reference Health Centre in 2021, for the hospital and its staff to realise that they had not understood all the linkages WASH had to their work.
For example, a very rusty bed cannot be effectively cleaned and disinfected, and therefore increases the risk of transmitting diseases from one woman to another and to their newborn children.
The training helped the hospital's WASH team understand these essential linkages, and made this matter a top priority, which led them to advocate for the money needed to buy a new delivery bed.
Afou Chantal Bengaly, country coordinator of IRC Mali says these are the stories that make her believe that the mindset of people can be changed when provided with the right evidence and approaches to mobilise resources to address their challenges.
IRC Mali has been supporting rural health facilities in Nossombougou, Ouolodo and Tioribougou districts to become more resilient since 2018. Read more in IRC Mali's 2021 annual report.
Percent of institutions with improved facilities Nossombougou, Oulodo, Tioribougou - 2021
1 Number of partners, collaborations, or working groups with whom we worked closely on programme implementation in 2021.
2 WASH FIT (the Water and Sanitation for Health Facility Improvement Tool) is a risk-based management tool developed by WHO and UNICEF for health care facilities, covering key aspects of water, sanitation, hand hygiene, environmental cleaning, health care waste management and selected aspects of energy, building and facility management. More here. WASH FIT portal | WASH in Health Care Facilities (washinhcf.org)