Week 4: Water and Sanitation Health (Inspecting/Maintaining a Borehole)

Last week we had the opportunity to travel to Bukasakya Health Clinic 3. This facility is unique because it is one of the only health facilities that is sponsored by a third party organization, Spotlight on Africa. From the moment you enter the sub-country you can already see the difference within the community Houses are well constructed and well planned. The health facility itself was very well organized and had great infrastructure; more than any health center 3 we have seen thus far. Spotlight on Africa focuses on uplifting the community in various aspects such as health, education, economic empowerment and sanitation. Our first visit was to see how bio-fuel is utilized within the community. The amazing process of bio-fuel is environmentally friendly, creates no waste and is sustainable. The process is high heat cow dung fermentation that creates gas and treated fertilizer. The gas can be used for personal use such as a gas stove or for powering lights, while the fertilizer can be used in the farms to help with crops. The infrastructure is underground with an input for fresh cow dung (located nearby in the cow stall). The structure then moves to the underground heating structure that treats and produces the gas that is funneled into the house through gas lines. The output is in a pit where the fertilizer is collected. I was quite amazed at the efficiency and wished that every family could be provided this structure. The clean gas protects families from wood stoves that create smoke inhalation leading to asthma and other respiratory illnesses. This specific bio-fuel structure was funded by Food for the Hungry.

The next day we went to inspect a borehole that has been maintained and managed by the VHT Water User Committee. We helped escalate the structure to remove overgrowth of grass and helped them install a fence to surround the borehole. The fence will help prevent overcrowding, prevent animals from entering the area, and reduce wear and tear on the water source. I found it interesting that next to the borehole was a chlorine dispenser that allows for a few drops that can sanitize a 20 liter jerrycan of water making it safe for drinking. This process eliminates a lot of hassle for the users by reducing the need to boil. My only hope is that they utilize it correctly and have gotten proper education on how to use and when to use the chlorine additive.

After visiting Bukasakya it was clear that the VHTs are well trained and equipped to handle their jobs as community leaders. VHTs are volunteers to help bridge the gap between community members and health workers. From my observation of this sub-county, the work that the VHTs, health workers, community member, and supporting organizations I can see how they are truly making an impact on the health and sanitation, economic empowerment and education within this community.




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