Members of various Civil Society Organisations and professionals from different specialties in the health sector defend the urgent need to install water reservoirs for an improved working of health units for the benefit of users, patients and various health agents in Mozambique.

The position was expressed last Thursday in Maputo, during the launching ceremony of the Report on the Availability of Water and Infrastructure in Health Units, organized by the Observatório do Cidadão para Saúde (OCS)

The meeting aimed to publicly discuss the research’s main findings, as well as to present the problems that most plague the health sector. 

The survey covered a total of 11 health units in Maputo Province and City, as well as Inhambane Province. The meeting involved various entities from the health sector, namely, health providers public providers, co-Management and Humanisation Committees, as well as Civil Society Organisations.

Participants at the meeting – which was both in person as well as virtual – were engaged in presenting ideas for improving the public health sector.

 “We have seen the discomfort of users in health units, due to the lack of water and decent infrastructure conditions”, said Camila Fanheiro, representative of the organization Saber Nascer.

For Fanheiro, the publication of the report “is very important because it can help improve the services of health units and, especially, in the services of maternity wards… if there is access to water, infections in newborns are reduced. In other words, water is very crucial for maternal and child health.”

In turn, Ana Contranhar – representing the Water Supply Investment Fund (FIGAG) – defends the need to install a water reservoir in each health unit, so that there is better provision of decent services to the citizen.      

“Health facilities should have a tank or a reservoir so that this precious liquid would never run out”, said Contranhar, adding that “there must be an alignment between the MISAU and the entities responsible for water. There must be political will. There should be laws dealing with corporate social responsibility, that is, companies should help solve basic problems.”

Agreeing with the FIPAG representative, Isabel Lampião – senior public health technician – defended the need “to mobilise companies so that they can respond to social responsibility. In other words, there is an absence of corporate social responsibility”.

“The issue of accessibility of health facilities should not be restricted to a certain group of people”

For Farida Gulamo, human rights activist and chairperson of the Association for the Disabled of Mozambique (ADEMO), infrastructure accessibility must also include individual with special needs, not just a certain group of people.   

“The issue of health facilities accessibility should not be restricted to a specific group of people. It is necessary that there is social inclusion, one must take into account the creation of ramps for the disabled, in all health units. One should also look at the condition of the toilets in the units, as there are wheelchair users who cannot access these points; one must look at the disabled, they are the most affected group”, said Gulamo.

“Water is a basic need that should have already been met”

“Water is a basic need that should have been met. We should no longer discuss a basic issue, which constitutes a Human Right”, criticizes Lara Ferreira – who is a doctor by profession – adding that the bureaucracy of public institutions significantly contributes to the lack of basic conditions in hospitals.

Sometimes, the units only have one doctor to cater for several users

For Rosa Nhantumbo, general health technician, the availability of health facilities should not be seen only from the infrastructural point of view, there is a need to pay attention to the lack of health professionals in several public hospitals.      

 “Sometimes, the units only have one doctor to cater for several users. In other words, a doctor (or a health technician) is unable to cater to patients’ concerns. Therefore, accessibility is undermined – there is a lack of medical personnel.”

“Decision makers should be invited to these meetings so that the conditions of health facilities are actually improved, from the provision of water, electricity and adequate infrastructure”, said Luciano Macumbe, representative of Huxikamwe Association (which in the Changan language means We’re Together).

“There should be frequent communication between water providers and health providers”

Taking into account the financial issue, in order to solve the problem of water and infrastructure availability, Silva Mulambo – secretary executive of the Civil Society Platform for Health and Human Rights (PLASOC) – stressed the urgency for a debate at the highest level, inviting the main representatives of the central government (the political decision-maker). 

“For this issue, there should be frequent communication between water providers and health providers. The decision-making staff should be present at such meetings”, said Mulambo.

The launch, which was characterized by different opinions and positions, had the participation of various social entities, from government representatives, civil society, community-based  organisations (OCBs) and individual persons.

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