The Nottingham Team have been working with Ngora Maternity Unit HC III since 2009. There has been a visit most years centred around helping with training the midwives, nurses and doctors. 2017 saw the start of infrastructure work prioritised by the Unit.
Solar Power was top of the list, power went down often throughout the year for days and sometimes weeks, this meant essential equipment likethe vaccine freezer, oxygen concentrators and overnight lighting were laid useless.
A 12kWh per day system was installed by an excellent Ugandan supplier. This provides the essential power needs and reduces the electricity bill, releasing scarce money for other essential items and drugs. The Unit is very pleased with the installation exceeding it’s expectations.
Water was the next priority. The unit had 2 leaking 10,000ltr tanks fed by rainwater harvesting and an unreliable public supply they could not afford, one of the 10,000ltr tanks fed 2 header tanks by a hand pump. In 2017 we repaired one of the tanks, replaced the other and added an additional 5,000ltr tank with guttering. In broad terms by the end of 2017, during the rainy season the facility has enough water (March-June), then around 50%+ in the semi-rainy season (July-Oct), it can rain heavily in November, but then in the 3 month dry season there is not enough water (Dec-Feb) from rainwater collection.
It was agreed during our visit in January 2018 that the next phase of water wouldadd a solar powered pump to feed the header tanks, a further 10,000ltr tank to help in the semi-rainy season, add stand pipes at the staff accommodation and mother’s was station. We also agreed to support the Unit with it’s water bill in the dry season for the next 5 years. This should provide the Unit’s water needs for all 12 months of the year. The situation will be reviewed after the next phase is implemented.
Sanitation was the priority after water. 12 pit latrines were overflowing and have been emptied in early 2018. The mother’s wash station where mothers wash their soiled sheets and clothes after giving birth was never completed due to lack of money, this is an infection risk and does not provide necessary facilities for mum’s with new born babies. The wash station will be renovated and a stand pipe put next to it in 2018. By the end of 2018 we hope to have renovated the existing pit latrines. In 2019 we will look to provide an incinerator to replace the open fire pit currently in use, the fire pit produces noxious fumes and incomplete incineration of infectious and dangerous waste.