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Water Means Life (AU)

Health workers in Mozambique need clean water to stay safe and help protect mothers-to-be and their babies from infection – will you show your support?

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Maria Alberto and her colleagues attend to patients at the health centre in Napacala. Niassa Province, Mozambique, Jul 25, 2022.

Maria Alberto and her colleagues attend to patients at the health centre in Napacala. Niassa Province, Mozambique, Jul 25, 2022. WaterAid/ Etinosa Yvonne.

Maria Alberto and her colleagues attend to patients at the health centre in Napacala. Niassa Province, Mozambique, Jul 25, 2022.

Maria Alberto and her colleagues attend to patients at the health centre in Napacala. Niassa Province, Mozambique, Jul 25, 2022. WaterAid/ Etinosa Yvonne.

In hospitals and clinics all over the world, you’ll find committed doctors, nurses and cleaners passionate about helping others, just like the dedicated team at Napacala in Mozambique.

But this team is missing one crucial resource: clean water.

The team delivers around 70 babies each month. Working around the clock to support mums-to-be and their newborns. But despite their devotion, without clean water, their effort to heal risks bringing harm.

Across the world - there is a mother giving birth without clean water every two seconds.  But with your support, we can change this. Will you help bring clean, piped water to healthcare facilities like Napacala?

Napacala’s clinic, found within a bustling market, is at the centre of 16 communities – what happens here ripples out into its surroundings.

If the clinic is unhealthy, then so are the communities it serves. Meet some of the incredible team at Napacala Health Facility and the mothers and babies that rely on them.

Patients sit in the waiting area at the healthcare facility in Napacala. Niassa Province, Mozambique, Jul 23, 2022.

Patients sit in the waiting area at the healthcare facility in Napacala. Niassa Province, Mozambique, Jul 23, 2022. WaterAid/ Etinosa Yvonne.

Patients sit in the waiting area at the healthcare facility in Napacala. Niassa Province, Mozambique, Jul 23, 2022. WaterAid/ Etinosa Yvonne.

Maria Alberto, nurse

Water for me is life and without it there’s no life.

Maria has been at Napacala Healthcare Facility for just eight months, but in that short time she's gained a lot of respect in the community through her hard work, kindness and care.

Like many of her colleagues, her workplace is far away from her family and hometown. She’s totally dedicated to her job; she works seven days a week and is on call 24 hours a day.

“This is my first job since finishing training. My work is about preventive medicine. I work a lot with children in the vaccination programme. Working with children makes me very happy. Since I started working here, I’ve learned how to care for pregnant women.

“We need water in Napacala. We would like to have water pumps not just here in the health centre but across our community.”

Maria poses for a portrait at the health centre in Napacala. Niassa Province, Mozambique, Jul 26, 2022. WaterAid/ Etinosa Yvonne.
Maria looks at a newborn baby in the labour ward at the health centre in Napacala. Niassa Province, Mozambique, Jul 23, 2022.

The impact of dirty water on maternal health

Infections associated with unclean births account for 26% of newborn deaths and 11% of maternal mortalities each year - together accounting for more than 1 million deaths annually.

Without clean water to sterilise equipment, to wash bedding and to keep people clean, health workers, mums-to-be and babies are at risk of getting sick and in tragic cases, dying.

However, with something as simple as clean water, midwives can deliver babies in a safe environment, cleaning staff can keep facilities immaculate, and mums and babies can concentrate on spending their first special moments together.

	Afonsina Mulikiwa poses with her baby at the healthcare facility in Napacala. Niassa Province, Mozambique, Jul 23, 2022.

Afonsina Mulikiwa poses with her baby at the healthcare facility in Napacala. Niassa Province, Mozambique, July 23, 2022. WaterAid/ Etinosa Yvonne.

Afonsina Mulikiwa poses with her baby at the healthcare facility in Napacala. Niassa Province, Mozambique, July 23, 2022. WaterAid/ Etinosa Yvonne.

Matilde Romao, mother and patient


We’ve now given a name to my son which means ‘leave the baby with us this time’.

Matilde has lived in Napacala her whole life. She gave birth to her baby here in May 2022.

“I bring my new baby here every month for his vaccinations. But I have had three children that have died. We’ve now given a name to my son which means ‘leave the baby with us this time’.

"If I could change anything about the health centre, I would change the toilets. They are not good. They are dirty. We were washing our hands often because of coronavirus but nowadays we don’t wash regularly because we [don’t] have a lot of water, even at home. Water is a real problem here. We have only one small well for many, many people.

“We want to change our life. I would like to have more babies. I would like to have better conditions in hospital in the future.”



Matilde Romao, poses with her baby in Napacala. Niassa Province, Mozambique, Jul 25, 2022.
Some mothers and their children take shade under a tree in front of the health centre as they wait to be attended to at the health centre in Napacala. Niassa Province, Mozambique, Jul 25, 2022.

A brighter future is possible

At WaterAid, we have more than 40 years of collective know-how to turn situations like these around. Through strong partnerships with in-country experts and local communities, we’ve transformed the life chances of millions across the world.

We’ve already made headway in Mozambique. Nearby in Mecanhelas, we worked with our partners to pipe clean water into the healthcare facility there, which has made a huge difference to staff, mothers-to-be and their babies.

I feel good that the doctor can wash his hands with soap and water, because by washing his hands, the doctor is preventing diseases, and I must do the same. I also feel confident that when the doctor washes his hands and grabs a piece of paper, his hands do not transmit diseases.

Valéria Estêvão at the Mecanhelas healthcare facility. Niassa Province, Mozambique, Jul 28, 2022.

Valéria Estêvão at the Mecanhelas healthcare facility. Niassa Province, Mozambique, Jul 28, 2022. WaterAid/ Etinosa Yvonne.

Valéria Estêvão at the Mecanhelas healthcare facility. Niassa Province, Mozambique, Jul 28, 2022. WaterAid/ Etinosa Yvonne.

Maria Armando, cleaner at Mecanhelas healthcare facility

Maria has experienced life at Mecanhelas clinic before and after taps were installed.

“It was difficult [before]. We had to fetch water from a well using all the buckets we have here to enable us to clean the premises. Can you imagine the number of people reporting to the emergency services, and using the toilets? We had to go seven times a day to fetch water from the well.

“Now all of this is in the past. All wards are clean all the time. Taps have running water all the time. Whenever we spot dirt, we clean it straight away. It is a joy! Water is very important to me. Without water there is no life.”

Without the stress and time wasted fetching water from far away, Maria and her colleagues at Mecanhelas can concentrate on their work, keep facilities clean and patients healthy.

Maria Armando, a cleaner at the Mecanhelas health centre, sits for a portrait. Niassa Province, Mozambique, Jul 28, 2022.
Maria Armando cleans the consulting room in Mecanhelas health centre. Niassa Province, Mozambique, Jul 28, 2022.

Together, we can reach healthcare facilities with clean water so staff can stay safe and help protect mothers-to-be and their babies from infection.

It’s a simple, small solution that you can support in the simplest, smallest way possible – and still make a massive impact.