Published on: 19/07/2022
"I am now motivated to change the current practices using available resources and seeking support to meet WASH standards at my health facility. I have copied several best practices from the learning visits which I wish my facility to adapt. If we maintain regular committee meetings, I am sure that will support sustainability of the good practices- I have seen that most facilities have improved since we got active again as HUMCs."
- Natukunda Paul, Senior C/O and in-charge, Mugusu HCIII.
Kabarole district is leaving no stone unturned in its quest to ensure safe water and sanitation services in all health care facilities.
But there are challenges such as meagre budget allocations, limited staffing, corruption, poor quality services and inadequate capacity in planning and supervision. National guidelines by the Ministry of Health include establishing community governance structures known as Health Unit Management Committees (HUMCs) to offer advisory, advocacy and supervisory support to the administration of health care facilities.
IRC supported the Kabarole district health department to revive the HUMCs, starting with the five health centre III2 facilities namely Kicwamba, Ruteete, Kijura, Mugusu and Kaswa. These have been transformed to model WASH in health care services in line with national and World Health Organization standards.
IRC ran capacity building workshops and peer learning exchanges to help the five HUMCs in performing their roles, and to create awareness of the importance of WASH and infection prevention and control (IPC) in health care management.
Today, each committee is actively involved in the budget process especially advocating for increased allocations to WASH and IPC services. They have work plans, filed records of meetings, reports of services monitored, and sustainability measures drawn. And they proactively reach out to the support staff responsible for hygiene (cleaners).
HUMCs are also actively facilitating staff Continuing Medical Education on waste segregation and hand hygiene, lobbying for water tanks, menstrual hygiene facilities, toilets adapted for people with disabilities and ensuring well-maintained drinking water stations at Patient Care Areas. Behaviour change has also been noticed in health workers as well as patients' compliance to handwashing, and waste management among other practices.
1 Number of partners, collaborations, or working groups with whom we worked closely on programme implementation in 2021
2 Health centre IIIs are expected to serve a population of 10,000 people with maternity services, out-patients consultations, immunisation and minor surgeries, special clinics such as ART and TB, all of which require keen attention to WASH services