Paulina Quintao – The result of an assessment conducted on clean water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) of health facilities across Timor-Leste shows that from the 380 health facilities within the country, 75% do not have running water.
The Deputy Minister of Health Luis Lobato said this issue needs to be addressed to ensure adequate WASH across all health facilities across the territory.
He acknowledged the situation and this impair the ability to health professionals to ensure good standards of hygiene at the health facilities.
"Hygiene is about having clean conditions and we cannot imagine how this can happen in the workplace when treating patients if there is no water," he said during the opening of a seminar on the presentation of results of the Assessment at the Ministry of Health, in Kaikoli, Dili.
He welcomed the results of the assessment as they serve as an indicator for the government to create strategies and plans based on the data provided.
He said the government must guarantee citizens get access to clean water but reality shows that communities are getting sick due to lack of clean water and hygiene.
He informed that the MoH has made a proposal to the Council Ministers on how to add water and sanitation services in all health facilities and services.
He added the Ministry is also considering new strategies related to water catchments to preserve rain water for health facilities to use during the dry season and those without a water spring nearby.
On the other hand, the representative of National Directorate for Water and Sanitation Service Martinus Nahac said adding water and sanitation services to the work the MoH is implementing will be up to the upcoming government.
He said during the Indonesian occupation, MoH was solely responsible for water and sanitation services, but after independence this has been taken over by the Ministry of Infrastructure.
"Moving forward the Ministries and development partners should work together to address the issue because water is very important," he said.
He said not only at the health facilities, the schools also lack water and sanitation because some areas have no spring water.
Meanwhile, the director for Health, Aileu Municipality, Antonio da Costa said all health facilities in Aileu municipality have access to clean water, but there are water shortages.
"The 75% rates do not include us because our health facilities have access to clean water," he said.
He added water shortage take place during the dry season, but alternative sources has to be used to ensure water and hygiene during health treatment.