WASH: Water, Sanitation & Hygiene
Water is not only a key to life, but to health. Improving access to clean water is a critical way to improve health and safety for all people.
Health Equity International’s water, sanitation & hygiene (WASH) activities fall into two primary categories. First, we ensure that St. Boniface Hospital has a reliable supply of safe, clean water for drinking, washing, and cleaning. Second, we work in the communities surrounding Fond des Blancs to provide water treatment tablets and education to help prevent cholera and other waterborne diseases.
SBH’s main source of water is the Dugue spring, which is located approximately three miles from the hospital. In order to keep the hospital's cisterns full, a team of workers from the hospital's maintenance crew used to have to fill tanks on the back of a truck bucket-by-bucket, drive it to the hospital, and unload it into the cisterns bucket-by-bucket.
In the summer of 2016, our partners at Build Health International, with funding from Food for the Poor and the Kellogg Foundation, installed a direct water line from the Dugue spring to the hospital. The line now allows us to fill the hospital’s cisterns directly. We also received a grant to purchase a new, modern water truck that can carry 3,000 gallons of water. The water truck serves an efficient backup for when the direct line cannot be run, and to fill secondary cisterns on the hospital’s campus.
As part of the housing construction program in Fond-des-Blancs, spearheaded by Food for the Poor, Health Equity International provides hygiene and sanitation trainings for families who receive new houses built by FFP.
Community Health and Water Treatment:
As a result of Health Equity International’s WASH and community health efforts, we have not seen an instance of cholera at the hospital in over two years. However, water-borne diarrheal diseases and the possibility of future cholera outbreaks remain a concern. SBH's community health team distributes water treatment tablets to people in the many communities with a history of disease outbreaks and educates them on how to treat water to make it safe, and how to use that treated water to avoid the spread of disease in the future. Active monitoring for cholera and other diarrheal diseases, and distribution of water treatment supplies, is ongoing throughout the region where our community health team works.