Bhutan learning event on WASH and health care facilities starts

Building in forest

The four-day global learning event _WASH in Rural Health Care Facilitie_s in Punakha, Bhutan is now ongoing. A Marchang ceremony marked the launch of this auspicious event, i.e., the coming together of almost 50 participants in Bhutan from across the globe to deepen conversations on the place of WASH in health care facilities.

“WASH in health care facilities (HCFs) is important to provide quality universal health coverage, effective infection control, and good waste management practices. If safe drinking water, basic or improved sanitation, and public education on hygiene practices are ensured – mortality and morbidity rates will be reduced significantly” (Dr Ugen Dophu, Secretary, Ministry of Health during the official opening remarks).

Health care facilities (HCFs) are the frontliners of health care delivery within public spaces. They are extensions of the government’s duty to ensure people’s access to their most basic human rights, e.g., the human right to health, and the human right to water and sanitation.

  • Unfortunately, JMP research data shows that 1 in 4 HCFs lacks basic water supply facilities; 1 in 5 does not have sanitation facilities. Poorly functioning facilities (or their absence) results in ineffective infection prevention and control. As well, people’s low confidence on public infrastructure and services. Efforts to improve basic WASH services, among others, will help boost credibility of public health programmes, and a population's overall health condition.

  • Taking positive health outcomes to scale is equally problematic. Although villages, schools and HCFs themselves may have their own WASH/ HCF plans, their limited and place-specific scope are incapable of taking progress to scale. A larger strategy (such as an area-wide programme) embedded in local governance systems  is needed.

About the learning event

Jointly hosted by the Public Health Engineering Division of Bhutan's Ministry of Health and SNV in Bhutan, the WASH in Rural Health Care Facilities learning event will conclude on 9 May 2019. The four-day learning event builds on last month’s moderated exchanges on WASH and HCFs (via the SNV WASH e-group platform) which ran for three weeks.

The face-to-face learning event in Bhutan is arranged in five learning blocks. Participant accounts of the learning event will be shared in the coming weeks. Follow @SNV_WASH on Twitter to keep abreast with  latest developments on this learning event (and SNV's rural and urban WASH programmes).

Day and date

Learning block focus

Day One, 6 May

Block 1: Collaboration between health care and WASH structures

Block 2: Health care facilities in Bhutan

Day Two, 7 May

[Health care facility visit, and field assignment]

Day Three, 8 May

Block 3: Entry points for change

Day Four, 9 May

Block 4: Integration of waste streams

Block 5: Consolidation

Banner photoycchen, via pixabay