Water, sanitation, and hygiene in rural health-care facilities: a cross-sectional study in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zambia

Safe and sufficient water, sanitation, and hygiene (WaSH) prevent the spread of disease in health-care facilities (HCFs). Little research has been conducted on WaSH in HCF in sub-Saharan Africa. We carried out a cross-sectional study of WaSH in 1,318 randomly selected rural HCF (hospitals, health centers, health posts, and clinics) in regions throughout Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zambia. Methods included questionnaires with head doctors and nurses to document WaSH access, continuity, quality, quantity and reliability, and analysis of drinking water samples for Escherichia coli. We found that fewer than50%of rural HCFs had access to improved water sources on premises, improved sanitation, and consistent access to water and soap for handwashing (Ethiopia [7%), Kenya [30%], Mozambique [29%], Rwanda [50%], Uganda [30%], and Zambia [21%]). Adequate hand hygiene reduces disease transmission and health-care-acquired infections, but fewer than 25% of HCF in each country reported that a combination of water, soap, and hand-drying materials were always available. Our research points to a lack of basic WaSH services in rural HCFs in regions of sub-Saharan Africa, which poses a threat to the health of patients and health-care workers in these settings.

Water, sanitation, and hygiene in rural health-care facilities: a cross-sectional study in Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zambia. A. Guo, J. Bowling, J. Bartram, G. Kayser. 2017. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 97:4, pp. 1033-1042. doi.org/10.4269/ajtmh.17-0208