Visit to Mugai Dispensary

Wednesday, June 26th, 2024

By Jacklyne Chelagat

My visit to Mugai Dispensary (Health Care Facility) clearly indicated that this health center is facing many challenges regarding access to clean water.

Mugai Dispensary is a health center located in Malava Sub-County, Shirugu-Mugai Ward. Our entry to this dispensary was a sad one. The environment was too quiet and people around looked so sad. Hygiene and sanitation seemed so poor. 

Mugai Dispensary’s gate.

As usual, I went directly to wash my hands upon entering the compound. Empty handwashing containers without water made my heart sink; I already felt the hygiene and sanitation of this health center were at stake.

My continued tour of the center made me so emotional that I almost shed tears. The entire hospital was not clean. The floors were full of dust. Patients did not have the water to even take the immediate medication needed. The doctor used sanitizer to clean his hands after attending to patients with different ailments. The toilets and bathrooms were all dirty and stinking. Generally, the hygiene and sanitation were very poor. 

“Treating patients in this health center is so difficult without water,” said Dr. Makoha. “[I] am forced to continually use sanitizer to clean my hands anytime I handle patients. This is due to lack of water in the handwashing facility.” 

These sentiments from the doctor were enough to cause tears in our eyes. 

A hospital should be a conducive place where patients should be comfortable and have hope of being well. I sympathized with all the patients who were waiting patiently while queueing in a dirty environment.

My visit worsened when I visited the Maternal Health Center. I intended to see happy smiles from mothers and caregivers. It was the opposite; mothers’ sentiments were clear that they were really suffering. 

I imagined that I was that mother who, after delivering, was told to go and wash myself together with my newborn baby at home. How comfortable would I be sitting next to a passenger in the vehicle? Would I be stinking, would other passengers be comfortable around me? How will other people perceive me? I was so troubled and saddened by the situation in this health center. Why should an innocent child go through such frustration at a tender age? Which mistake did a mother commit to deserve such kind of embarrassing treatment?

Childbirth is crucial to human existence. Therefore, mothers are highly honored and respected when they are pregnant. At Mugai dispensary, there is a maternity ward that ensures three to five mothers are assisted during childbirth daily. Nurse Jane Mutola confirms that it has been difficult and challenging to attend to a mother who is giving birth when there is no water in the facility. 

My visit to the kitchen made me more than hungry. There was no food being prepared for the workers or patients. How do you work and fail to eat? This is torture, and frustrating to both workers and to some patients. Preparing meals for admitted patients or staff is another challenge because there is not enough water. Hunger pangs are the norm for everyone in this hospital.

Further discussion with the doctor in charge, Samuel Makoha, made it evident that the facility was lacking a proper water source. The facility relies on rainwater, which is not sufficient and unreliable during the dry seasons. The second source is the spring, which is very far from the health center. So they are forced to pay the laborers to ferry a few trips because they do not have enough funds allocated from the government to cater for water.

Our visit to the toilet was disastrous, as we could not even use them. They were all dirty and stinking. The facility has a two-door pit latrine, which is used by everyone in the facility, including the patients. 

Helping such a dispensary to access clean water sufficiently will go a long way in creating a conducive environment for doctors and all health practitioners. It will also help bring life to patients who come to the hospital being expectant of getting better. Above all, it will improve the sanitation and hygiene practices of this dispensary.

The lack of sufficient flow of clean and safe water is the greatest cause of all the challenges the health center is going through. A new water project will begin a journey of having better healthcare services in this dispensary.

Water is essential to human beings and used in all sectors for smooth operation. Hospitals need a sufficient supply of clean and safe water to effectively administer their services well. Doctors work well in an environment that is clean and conducive. The same applies to patients, they will feel comfortable and feel healed in a clean environment.

Mugai Dispensary Hoping to Get Clean Water

By Olivia Bomji

Imagine giving birth or taking your sick child to a health center with no safe water, toilets, or handwashing facilities. 

Dr. Makoha shows an empty handwashing station outside Mugai Dispensary.

In every healthcare institution in the world, water is a very precious commodity. Patients frequently visit healthcare facilities daily because of different ailments, and they have to be received in a clean environment. 

But at Mugai Dispensary, it is sad because the healthcare facility has no water, and it is hard for the doctors and nurses to attend to the patients who visit the dispensary every day.

The dispensary receives a large number of patients daily who need quality services from the doctors, but it is a challenge to attend to them because the dispensary has no water. The nurses are worried that the patients might even contract more infections from the hospital. The women, children, and men getting services from this facility need access to clean water.

This is because some are dehydrated, some have to swallow medicine from the hospital and it is becoming a challenge to the doctors.

Water, sanitation, and hygiene services in health facilities are the most basic requirements of infection prevention and control, and of quality care. They are fundamental to respecting the dignity and human rights of every person who seeks healthcare and of health workers themselves. For this, we all have to pool our resources together to give Mugai Dispensary a sustainable clean water source, so that the patients will have hope of getting better soon, and so the healthcare practitioners will deliver better services to their patients without fear of giving them infections.

Touching the lives of mothers and children through access to clean water is giving hope and good health to the entire community. 

Walking into Mugai Dispensary was a different and sad experience to me. There were many patients coming into the dispensary seeking treatment. Despite the fact that the doctor and nurses had all the experience required to give good services to their patients, it was quite evident that they could not attend to the patients as expected because they lacked water in the facility, and they looked so stressed and worked up.

As a mother of two, I remember giving birth to my children in a private hospital where there was enough water, and the environment was clean and conducive. But, seeing the mothers at Mugai Dispensary coming to the facility without water to even take their antimalarial pills was so traumatizing to me. Their experiences while giving birth made me cry because some of the women were forced to call their family members to bring water to the hospital so that they could take baths and wash their clothes. This means that they waited for hours to take baths so that they could hold their newborn babies.

A health center is supposed to be clean and accommodating to the patients. But at Mugai Dispensary, it was different. The latrines were very dirty, the floors of the hospital were dirty, and the doctor was worried that patients could get infections from the hospital because the environment was not clean. The doctor could easily infect other patients because he didn’t wash his hands with water as is expected; rather, he used sanitizers all the time. This was so evident because the dispensary had handwashing stations that didn’t have water that day. According to the nurse, the handwashing stations are filled with water when the hospital has money to pay someone to fetch water from the spring, and when there is no money, they stay without water.

Patients coming in and out of the hospital were uncountable, although some looked dehydrated and couldn’t get access to clean water in the hospital. Still, they keep hope alive that one day, the dispensary will get clean and safe water that will serve them as they seek medical services from the dispensary.

I hope one day, the patients seeking medical services from Mugai Dispensary will tell a different story of the hospital being clean and the doctors attending to the patients comfortably because there will be plenty of clean water flowing in the dispensary.

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