WASH Facilities in 4 Districts: 98pc healthcare centres lacking, says govt study
In a government study conducted in Kushtia, Jhenidah, Khulna and Jashore, it was found that over 98 percent healthcare centres in the districts have no proper water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities.
Unveiled yesterday, the report is based on Directorate General of Health Services' survey in the districts. The study found that 100 percent of surveyed healthcare facilities in Kushtia, Jhenidah, Khulna and Gazipur and 98 percent healthcare facilities in Jashore and Benapole have fallen in "level 1".
"Level 1 indicates that access to WASH within these healthcare facilities is very limited or non-existent," said the study.
"In these facilities at level-1, human faeces are contained within a pit or tank, but that tank remains accessible to human and animal (insect, rodent etc) contact," it added.
Public health expert Dr Abu Jamil Faisal presented the keynote paper at the consultation workshop held at a hotel in the capital.
National Technical Committee, Directorate General of Health Services, and Dutch development organisation SNV jointly organised the programme.
Though Bangladesh has made significant progress in the development of its healthcare system, there are very few initiatives to improve WASH, said Faisal.
Access to WASH facilities in healthcare is a fundamental component of Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and underpins the delivery of safe, quality health services for all.
According to the findings of the study, only one healthcare facility in Gazipur falls in the highest level-4, which indicates that it has hand washing station with running water from a tap, and is located within an accessible distance from the point of healthcare.
No healthcare facility in Jhenaidah and Jashore fall in this level, while only five healthcare facilities in Khulna City Corporation fall in level-3.
The survey also found that a significant number of healthcare facilities in six cities — 22 in Kushtia, 14 in Jhenaidah, 62 in Khulna, 27 in Jashore and Benapole and 11 healthcare facilities in Gazipur fall in level-2. Moreover, the quantity of hand washing facilities do not match the number of users.
Level 2 indicates that there is a hand washing station with soap, but there is no running water.
Prof Saidur Rahman Khasru of BSMMU said if WASH facilities are properly established, cases of infectious diseases will decrease in number.
The study recommended to conduct a baseline survey to better understand and address the current status of WASH in healthcare facilities; addressing the contributing factors behind the urban-rural divide in context of WASH in healthcare; allocating more public finance in this regard and ensuring proper channels and budget allocation at local government levels.
They also recommended to strengthen coordination with city corporation or municipality for medical and solid waste management and faecal sludge management, and if possible, linking up with forward-thinking private sector partners in this regard.
Dr Md Aminul Hasan, director and focal person of quality improvement secretariat chaired the programme while Md Asadul Islam, health secretary delivered a speech as chief guest.