Clinic Dispensary Sanitation Improvements

  • Health
  • Education
  • Water & Sanitation
  • Vanuatu
This project is led by Eric Schreiner, a Volunteer from North Carolina

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This project will address the need for improved facilities at the local dispensary. The scope of this project is to provide 1 flush toilet and 2 rainwater tanks set up with poly pipe and fittings which will be tied into a house with proper shower, toilet, and washing facilities for girls and women. The dispensary has a maternity ward that serves the entire population for the west side of the island. There is currently no water systems at the clinic and there is no access to toilet or shower facilities. Water has to be fetched from outside the dispensary and brought by buckets so mothers can bathe their babies and themselves. Since this is the only dispensary on the west side of the island and serves several communities, it is often busy with mothers coming to deliver babies. When mothers deliver their babies they prefer to recover at their homes because there is running water closer to their houses leaving them without proper medical support. They are missing out on post-natal services and learning opportunities that the health worker is expected to give to them. Additionally when a woman goes to deliver, the daughters in the family often skip school to be with with their mother to fetch water and bring it in for bathing or for consumption at the dispensary as it is “taboo” for men to be around.

As a result they miss out on several days of school. Teenage girls are often pressured to miss out on school days, sports, and other opportunities because of the need to make sure that their mothers have what they need at the clinic. If this dispensary gets their flush toilet and shower, this would remove barriers many girls have to their education and this will free up their daughters to attend school or any important community events. This will also mean that mothers will not have a need to leave the dispensary grounds and can stay and recover fully receiving important family planning education to benefit their families. Additionally the health worker and Peace Corps Volunteer will establish hygiene awareness's a program with the teachers to educate girls on menstrual health and hygiene. With collaboration from the workers at the clinic and the teachers at the school there will be a “menstrual health and hygiene” initiative. This new initiative will be used to promote access to clean and safe washing facilities for girls and women. The new facilities at the clinic will be the first toilet in the community with cleaning areas that are a safe space for girls and mothers to use. The facilities will be used as a model for new sanitation facilities within the surrounding communities for girls and women in the future. The community is ready to provide the necessary labor for the project and is motivated and eager to complete this project and the families will benefit from this for years to come.

During the first Peace Corps Volunteer’s service here the community, the Chief, Area Council, dispensary and water committee worked together on a project to replace and improve the current water system in the community but the dispensary in the clinic was never included in the project. Currently, I am serving as the second Peace Corps Volunteer here in the community working with the dispensary alongside water and sanitation. My counterpart at the Clinic as well as the Area Council, Chief, and water committee have been spearheading ideas about how there should be improvements inside the clinic grounds and benefiting the water, sanitation and hygiene. The health committee, the head nurse and I walked and analyzed the grounds and facilities of the communities and identified the areas in which we need to improve to make the clinic more safe and clean for youth and patients. The community intends to provide all the aspects of labor and gather all the local materials needed to build the flush toilet, the water system, and the rainwater tanks. Several families have already carried the coral and sand up the hill for making cement and to contribute to the clinic improvements. When the funding for the project is confirmed, the Chief, community members, and I plan to work together in determining realistic timelines and gather the men who are waiting to contribute skills and labor.

After the toilet and shower is constructed and completed and the tank is set up, it will require minimal maintenance efforts in the future. Discussing the importance of these maintenance efforts are crucial to the long-term functionality of the Dispensary. The cleaning of the flush toilets and rainwater tanks will require little maintenance but properly maintaining the will ensure that them full intended lifespan of the toilet will be met. It will be good to build the building for the toilet with as much local materials as possible. The thought behind building the structure with local material is that fixing and maintaining the structure will be easier and more easily. The hands-on experience of building the toilet, water system and rainwater system will make it possible for community members to construct these in the future when a need arises for a replacement or a new one. The hope is to equip the community with everything it will need to maintain and upgrade their water and sanitation systems in the future. The Health committee and health worker will monitor the use of these facilities and make plans for upkeep and ensure that the goals and objectives of this project are met.

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