Improving basic health care services in northern Afghanistan

In Afghanistan, support to provide proper handwashing stations with soap and safe water at targeted health centres help prevent diseases.

Construction of latrines in the Shir Abad Basic Health Centre.

Access to handwashing facilities and functional latrines is the foundation for improved health care in many countries around the world, including Afghanistan. To limit the spread of disease, proper facilities are essential. This practice is especially important for health facilities, the very place people go to seek treatment. Canada works closely with its humanitarian partners in Afghanistan to help establish working facilities so that community members and health care workers alike can benefit from the improved conditions.

In collaboration with Action Contre la Faim (ACF), Canada is providing support to the basic health centre in Shir Abad, Balkh province in northern Afghanistan, to improve water, hygiene and sanitation conditions and to provide health workers and patients with a safe and improved hygiene environment in health clinics. With Canada’s support, ACF is training health staff about basic nutrition and the construction and rehabilitation of handwashing stations and latrines.

Through this project, ACF repaired the hand pump that supplies safe water to the health centre, constructed latrines for women only, as well as for people with disabilities, and installed handwashing stations equipped with soap. Prior to these improvements, the facilities were not functional due to difficulty locating spare parts and a lack of funding.

“Since these renovations, our health clinics have handwashing facilities with soap, functional latrines and access to a safe water supply, says Kalsom, who had just arrived at the basic health clinic for consultation. “The community health supervisors at the clinics provide education sessions on hygiene, food and environment,”,

Mohmad Hakim, who visits the health facility about once a month, echoes these sentiments, stating: “I know some people who had diarrhea in the past and did not come to the health facility. They sent one person to bring the drugs for them because there were no latrines. When ACF constructed the latrines, the visits of sick people increased because health facilities now have all kinds of facilities inside.”

Water, latrines, soap and good hygiene are essential to reducing illness and death, especially in health facilities. This project promotes healthy behaviours to save lives, alleviate suffering and help Afghan members of this community maintain their dignity.

Related links

Project Browser: Afghanistan - Nutrition Assistance in Balkh Province - Action Against Hunger 2015

Partner: Action Against Hunger

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