Iceland invests 3.7bn to ease access to clean water in West Nile

In a bid to improve sanitation and curb the rising disease burden accruing from lack of access to clean water, the government of Iceland has awarded a 3.7Billion shillings grant that will benefit over 20,000 children in West Nile access clean and safe water.

The funding is targeting four health centers and seven schools with limited WASH facilities but provide services to numerous patients and learners, including both South Sudanese refugees and host communities.

“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,” said H.E Unnur Orradóttir Ramette, Ambassador of Iceland in Uganda.

The initiative was sparked off by an assessment report on 99 health centres in West Nile that highlighted that 85 per cent of the health centres had limited water supply due to lack of reliable water sources within their premises.  The health centers sampled rely mainly on rain water harvesting during the rainy season.  However, many of the rain water harvesting structures are non-functional.

The funds from Iceland will benefit the districts of Arua and Yumbe, targeting 50 per cent refugees and 50 per cent host communities.

According to Proscovia Nakibuuka Communication Officer UNICEF Uganda, the contribution will be used to construct gender friendly drainable latrines, hand washing stations and incinerators.

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 7 schools will be equipped with water for menstrual hygiene management.

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