“…since March 2021, UNICEF supported water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) improvements at Ciforo Health Centre III…”
By Marko Taibot
Adjumani – November 25, 2022: Two latrines with two washrooms for the maternity ward including the incinerator have remained nonfunctional as the new piped water project fails to yield water.
The motorized piped water is part of a shs700m project funded by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) in the three government institutions in the three sub-counties of Ciforo, Pachara, and Pakale.
The in-charge of Ciforo health center III Mr. Henry Mamawi divulged that the maternity ward is the worst affected as the washrooms have no water. He says this compromises the required hygiene ideals of mothers.
“The mothers who deliver from the facility face a lot of challenges since the new piped water has failed to yield water, close to 40 mothers deliver from this facility every month, yet deliveries at the facility require constant water. We don’t have any nearby water point,” Mamawi lamented.
Patients and their caregivers have cried foul, testifying that during difficult times they are forced to go and fetch water from a crowded borehole to their disadvantage.
Ms Izabela Iziku is a caregiver who came to attend to her brother’s wife who is expecting. She testified that she has to go a long distance to fetch water yet there are many people at the water point.
“Sometimes I end up using only 20 liters of water the whole day. When I go to the water point I take a long time to get water yet my brother’s wife needs close attention,” Iziku said.
The project, according to the LCIII chairman Drazelega Luke, was launched in 2020 and was expected to be completed in the same period but today, he adds the project has not been commissioned.
He said he tried explaining the predicament of the motorized water project and how it has left the health facility grappling with acute water shortage but both the contractor: Agweru general merchandise and the district water officer turned out to be of little help to him.
The district water officer Izakare Richard said the dilemma expressed by the LC III chairman Drazelega Luke is correct, but divulged that his office is a conduit in the implementation of the water project.
Izakare disclosed that the project is off-budget support by UNICEF for the calendar year 2020, and the contract was also awarded by the UNICEF Kampala office, his office was simply charged with the responsibility of softly supervising the project.
‘’Unfortunately, during the sighting, the surveyors were restricted to the health facility compound because there was a land conflict with the neighboring home and the water source has low yield.’’
Consequently, he said the washrooms for the maternity ward and other wards including the water-borne toilets have not been put to use because the water well takes a lot of time to recharge, it is intermittent with no continuous yield.
‘’I acted and discussed the matter with Paul Semakula the WASH regional officer of UNICEF and suggested fresh sighting and the sub-county leaders offered another location for sighting water source. Unfortunately, UNICEF has no money and is yet to expect more funds from their donors,” Izakare Richard explained.
The executive director of Agweru General Merchandise Ltd Fadhul Yusuf said indeed it is true the works of the motorized water project were executed by his company and that the company has fulfilled the contractual obligations.
Mr. Fadhul Yusuf said the contract liability is over and the company has been paid the contract retention of shs70m and has nothing to do with acute water shortage at the facility. “The only hiccup the company met was that of shallow water well due to restricted surveying site,” he explained.
He also said the company could not drill from the neighboring homestead because the facility had a land conflict that restricted surveying within the compound of the facility.
Nonetheless, Mr. Yusuf Fadhul has committed to rectifying the situation, and being a son of the soil, he said he could not let down his own people but that does not mean he is at fault.
Ms. Catherine Ntabadde, Communication Specialist for UNICEF Uganda, said since March 2021, UNICEF supported water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) improvements at Ciforo Health Centre III, as one of three government health facilities benefitting from a UNICEF-funded WASH improvement project in Adjumani District.
“Regrettably, the existing borehole at the health facility had a poor yield of 0.5 M3/Hr, which is not suitable for motorization, and approval was thus secured to drill a new borehole. However, the sitting and drilling were restricted to the confines of the facility compound due to a pre-existing land dispute,” Ntabadde said.
She added that a new borehole was drilled within the health facility at a site with the most promising water yield of 1.8M3/hr, given the crucial water need, the well was also motorized, immediately activating water supply to the facility noting that after some time, the well was observed to have a low and intermittent water supply (averaging 200-500 liters per day), especially during the dry season, which has over time affected the availability of water at the facility, and the functionality of the WASH project components.
UNICEF has thus engaged the project contractor, the local government leaders, and the leadership of the health centre to address this challenge.
“Jointly we are working towards a solution of identifying another drilling area within the health facility land to ensure a clean, safe, and adequate water supply to Ciforo Health Centre III,” Ntabadde added.
The WASH improvement project is part of the government of Ugandan – UNICEF Country Programme 2021-2025 to enhance access to clean water for every child, their families, and the communities in which they live.