For decades, one of the direst public health challenge in Okere village was access to safe drinking water. For most households, women and girls had to trek for over 4KM to fetch a jerrycan of water from the nearest borehole. For many, the easiest option was to resort to water collection from the unprotected open wells. Because of this, outbreaks of waterborne diseases such as typhoid, cholera, dysentery were very rampant in recent years. In Dec 2018, a dysentery outbreak affected 65% of the households in the village and one child died. The dysentery outbreak wasn’t only fatal but it also came with huge financial losses as community members had to seek paid medical services and pay for the medicine.
The water access challenge is also further exacerbated during the prolong dry season when the wells dry off. When wells dry off, community members have to go to the neighbouring villages to fetch water.
To address this challenge, we have prioritized the drilling of boreholes, repairing old and broken boreholes and forming strong water management committees as sustainable ways of addressing the problem.
Our first borehole was drilled in Sept 2019 and it has brought a huge sigh of relief. Since community members started using the borehole, waterborne diseases outbreaks have been significantly reduced. As was usually the case, there was no single complaint in the community about anyone suffering from serious diarrhoea and typhoid.
In Ayiloi A and B villages where we work, three boreholes exist. To ensure their proper management, we have also formed water management committees. The committee members are democratically elected and they collect monthly dues from households that use the borehole to facilitate repairs when they breakdown and/or do regular servicing of the boreholes.
“The borehole has significantly made my life easier because I no longer have to walk for miles to fetch water”