Creating a new reality for water, sanitation and hygiene in healthcare: WaterAid Zambia's journey

Zambia, Health
Lennie N'guni, 60, a nurse and midwife at Mwanza Clinic in Monze District, Zambia, January 2018.
Image: WaterAid/ PATH/ Chileshe Chanda

The outbreak of COVID-19 has brought into sharp focus the need for adequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services in healthcare facilities, and the gaps in access that must be addressed urgently to help ensure quality of care and safety of health workers and patients.
In this document, we highlight key lessons from our work so far to improve WASH in healthcare facilities, to serve as recommendations for achieving sustainable services for everyone, everywhere across Zambia and beyond.

Explore our WASH in healthcare facilities project targeting 40 facilities in five Districts: Mwandi District in Western Province; Kazungula and Monze Districts in Southern Province; and Mwense and Samfya Districts in Luapula Province.
Our approach was to focus beyond the project outputs to achieve a broader outcome – ensuring wider ownership of the efforts beyond the life of the programme. This meant: 

  • Building partnerships with communities and a wide range of Government agencies to ensure needs were understood and facilities will be maintained.
  • Creating model facilities that demonstrate how new standards can be delivered in practice.
  • Developing and using tools for ensuring quality and facilitating delivery of the standards.
  • Focusing on ensuring access to WASH services in healthcare facilities for all people throughout their lifetimes.
  • Influencing for the integration of WASH services into healthcare strategies, with adequate resourcing for maintenance and the continuous operation of healthcare facilities.

Watch this film to visit Kabuyu Health Centre in Kazungula, one of the districts in which WaterAid implemented a WASH in healthcare facilities project.

Watch this film to visit Katuta Rural Health Centre in Mwense, where WaterAid Zambia supported the Ministry of Health through construction of maternity annexes, washing blocks and incinerators, among other improvements.