Nyaragusu is a small town in Tanzania. The local health clinic serves about 54,000 people in the district with maternal and general health services. There is no water on site or anywhere in walking distance. The clinic uses water vendors — sometimes nurses buy water with their own money, as the clinic’s budget is limited — and asks patients to bring water with them, particularly for delivering babies.
Latrines for patients are pit latrines, filthy and full, nearly abandoned. There are additional latrines with a washing stall reserved for staff and labouring women, but there is no water for flushing except for what is purchased from vendors.
In absence of clean water and basic sanitation services, this clinic, like so many others, cannot be kept clean. Medical equipment and bedding go unwashed and medical waste isn’t safely disposed of.
This is Teresa. She has two children, the second one was delivered in early June at Nyarugusu Dispensary and died at seven days old. Like so many others in the area, Teresa’s family does not have water at home.
“I walk 40 minutes to the nearest water tap. We pay 1,000 shillings a month for as much as we need. We take water in the morning, it closes at 11 am and sometimes we will wait for one hour in the queue. We use three jerry cans each day (about 60 L). I take two full cans on my first trip home, one on my head and one in my hands, and then I make a second trip for the third one. “
This fall, Merit Travel Group will once again partner with WaterAid Canada and will help bring clean water and basic sanitation facilities to health clinics in Geita and Nyang’hwale districts of Tanzania, improving the birth stories of thousands of women just like Teresa.
Merit has contributed almost $100,000 to WaterAid Canada over the course of the partnership and remains committed to helping achieve progress toward the WaterAid mission. This is due to the incredible vision and leadership of the Merit team, particularly Louisede Grandpré, Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder.
“Through my travels, I have had the opportunity to witness directly how fortunate we are because we live in Canada. As Merit approached its 20th anniversary we wanted to find an organization who would be able to direct our fund raising efforts toward a cause we felt was most important. Our involvement with WaterAid has been more rewarding than we could have expected. Our staff are polarized towards a common goal.”
For more information or to support the campaign visit wateraidcanada.com/merittravel