Water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure and quality in rural healthcare facilities in Rwanda.

Huttinger, A; Dreibelbis, R; Kayigamba, F; Ngabo, F; Mfura, L; Merryweather, B; Cardon, A; Moe, C; (2017) Water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure and quality in rural healthcare facilities in Rwanda. BMC health services research, 17 (1). p. 517. ISSN 1472-6963 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-017-2460-4

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WHO and UNICEF have proposed an action plan to achieve universal water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) coverage in healthcare facilities (HCFs) by 2030. The WASH targets and indicators for HCFs include: an improved water source on the premises accessible to all users, basic sanitation facilities, a hand washing facility with soap and water at all sanitation facilities and patient care areas. To establish viable targets for WASH in HCFs, investigation beyond 'access' is needed to address the state of WASH infrastructure and service provision. Patient and caregiver use of WASH services is largely unaddressed in previous studies despite being critical for infection control. The state of WASH services used by staff, patients and caregivers was assessed in 17 rural HCFs in Rwanda. Site selection was non-random and predicated upon piped water and power supply. Direct observation and semi-structured interviews assessed drinking water treatment, presence and condition of sanitation facilities, provision of soap and water, and WASH-related maintenance and record keeping. Samples were collected from water sources and treated drinking water containers and analyzed for total coliforms, E. coli, and chlorine residual. Drinking water treatment was reported at 15 of 17 sites. Three of 18 drinking water samples collected met the WHO guideline for free chlorine residual of >0.2 mg/l, 6 of 16 drinking water samples analyzed for total coliforms met the WHO guideline of <1 coliform/100 mL and 15 of 16 drinking water samples analyzed for E. coli met the WHO guideline of <1 E. coli/100 mL. HCF staff reported treating up to 20 L of drinking water per day. At all sites, 60% of water access points (160 of 267) were observed to be functional, 32% of hand washing locations (46 of 142) had water and soap and 44% of sanitary facilities (48 of 109) were in hygienic condition and accessible to patients. Regular maintenance of WASH infrastructure consisted of cleaning; no HCF had on-site capacity for performing repairs. Quarterly evaluations of HCFs for Rwanda's Performance Based Financing system included WASH indicators. All HCFs met national policies for water access, but WHO guidelines for environmental standards including water quality were not fully satisfied. Access to WASH services at the HCFs differed between staff and patients and caregivers.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases > Dept of Disease Control
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PubMed ID: 28768518
Web of Science ID: 407074700001
URI: http://researchonline.lshtm.ac.uk/id/eprint/4189912


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