WEST NILE. About 20,000 children in West Nile will benefit from improved water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services, after receiving a grant from the government of Iceland.
The funding is targeting four health centres and seven schools with limited water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities.
However, some of those that will benefit include South Sudanese refugees, host communities and communities surrounding the targeted health centres.
Ms Unnur Orradóttir Ramette, the Ambassador of Iceland in Uganda, said on Wednesday: "Supporting the construction of WASH facilities that meet national standards for health facilities and schools will contribute to a conducive environment for patients, caregivers, health workers, learners and teachers."
A WASH conditions assessment report conducted in 99 health centres in West Nile revealed that 85 per cent of the health centres had limited water supply.
Inadequate water supply
The health centres sampled in a survey rely mainly on rain water.
Most of the rain water harvesting structures are non-functional.
The situation in schools is not any different, given that only a few meet the recommended pupil stance ratio of 40:1. Majority of the schools in West Nile are far above the national average pupil stance ratio of 70:1.
The funds will benefit the districts of Arua and Yumbe, targeting 50 per cent refugees and 50 per cent host communities.
"The funding will be used for provision of 11 mini solar powered water supply facilities including drilling of a new borehole fitted with a solar powered pump and the provision of a 10,000-litre-storage tank, construction of gender-friendly drainable latrines, hand washing stations and incinerators," Ms Ramette said.
"This will involve the provision of 11 toilets and bathrooms with suitable fittings for ease of use by pregnant women and women who deliver at the health centres. In addition, the girls' washrooms in the seven schools will be equipped with water for menstrual hygiene management," she added.
United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (Unicef)'s Representative in Uganda, Dr Doreen Mulenga, said the organisation aims to increase access to sanitation and ensure sustainable WASH services in under-served areas.
Investments in WASH services will create a favourable atmosphere for learning and a better healthcare environment for women and children"
"We are grateful for the support from the Iceland government that will contribute to a reduction of water borne diseases among refugee children and host communities," Dr Mulenga said.