Assessing WASH facilities in Primary Healthcare Centres

Improving the safety and quality of healthcare requires access to sufficient safe water, basic sanitation and improved hygiene services in healthcare facilities.


14 Dec 2016

WaterAid Nigeria is advocating for increased access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities in healthcare centres since the launch of its 'Healthy Start' campaign in 2015.

‘Healthy Start' is WaterAid's four-year global advocacy priority focused on improving the health and nutrition of newborn babies and children through advocating for access to water, sanitation, and hygiene promotion to be integrated into health policy and delivery.

In Nigeria, we're especially focused on advocating for the provision of safe water, sanitation and hygiene in primary healthcare facilities. The ability to keep a hospital or clinic clean is such a fundamental basic requirement of healthcare that within the Sustainable Development Goal 6 commitment to ensure everyone has access to safe water and sanitation by 2030, we want to see healthcare facilities prioritised.

A health worker at a primary healthcare facility.A health worker at a primary healthcare facility.

A World Health Organization report reveals that in Nigeria almost a third (29%) of hospitals and clinics do not have access to clean water and the same percentage do not have safe toilets. One in six (16%) do not have anywhere to wash hands with soap.

According to our own recent assessment of WASH facilities in primary healthcare centres (PHCs) conducted in our six focal states – Bauchi, Benue, Enugu, Ekiti, Jigawa and Plateau – 21.1% of the facilities assessed did not have at least one toilet facility and none met the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) minimum standard of separate toilet facilities for males and females, as well separate toilet facilities for staff and patients.

Only 27.6% of the 242 PHCs assessed met NPHCDA minimum standard of access to a motorised borehole.

Across the six states, only 49 (20.2%) of the PHCs had handwashing facilities in toilet facilities. Handwashing facilities were observed in delivery rooms in only 133 (54.9%) of the facilities assessed. The ward and consulting rooms had handwashing facilities in 64 (26.4%) and 74 (30.5%) of the facilities respectively, suggesting poor hygiene practices in the health centres.

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