Water is essential for life. AFG is working to provide easy access to this valuable, indispensable resource to hospitals and communities throughout Guinea.

Water & Sanitation

The Importance of Water

Water in Jean Paul II

From the beginning of civilization humans have settled close to water sources. Unfortunately in many countries water is scarce or contaminated. Providing a better water supply can significantly improve the quality of life and is a condition for socioeconomic development.

Many diseases prevalent in developing countries are related to insufficient or unsafe water, together with local factors such as climate, density of population, local practices etc. Obtaining a sufficient amount of safe drinking water is  of the utmost importance and to control these maladies. This involves providing access to water supplies, as well as improving sanitation and hygiene habits and programs. Better water distribution helps prevent the accumulation of stagnant water, or waste water, a breeding environment for insects carrying a variety of illnesses.

In communities without running potable water, women and children are given the task of carrying water by hand. Working water distribution systems frees up community members’ time for other activities, such as childcare, animal rising or vegetable gardening.

AFG Gets Involved

Access to potable running water is one of the biggest challenges facing Guineans. In rural and urban areas, lack of clean water and poor sanitation are the primary causes of parasitic and endemic diseases, such as cholera. This issue becomes even more critical in hospitals, where sanitation and sterilization are of the utmost importance and clean water can truly mean the difference between life and death.

During the 2007 cholera outbreak, in addition to providing treatment, we set up a trash collection program to help eliminate the source of the disease. This initiative was only the start of efforts to help Guineans live healthier lives.

AFG will improve the water and sanitation in Guinea by:

  • Providing water wells
  • Installing water distribution systems
  • Implementing sanitation projects

 

To date, AFG has constructed water wells at two hospitals in and around Conakry: Jean Paul II and Tanene. These projects provide running water to the facilities and to the community at large. In addition, we have completed water distributions systems in Jean Paul II and Condeyah, which connect to the existing wells and provide running water to be used throughout the hospitals.

Installing plumbing and faucets for direct water access is very important, especially in hospitals. Studies have shown that there is often significant deterioration of water quality between the time that water is taken from the source and the time it reaches the mouth or hands.

We know that access to improved water and sanitation facilities does not, on its own, necessarily lead to improved health. Evidence has shown that hand-washing with soap is the single most effective intervention for reducing the spread of infections such as diarrhea, the second leading cause of death amongst children under five years old. We have started hand-washing campaigns at the facilities we have helped, which then spread to the community as a whole. We involved the staff and train them on peer-to-peer education techniques, so they can encourage their patients to participate in the program and demonstrate good hand hygiene before leaving the hospital.

According to the Director of Jean Paul II, Dr. Soumah, the installation of the well and subsequent sanitation program has helped reduce its hospital acquired infections by more than 60%, and has lowered patient-to-patient spread of infections by almost 90%, especially in cholera cases.

These results have been similar at all the other hospital AFG has helped.

Bringing Water to Schools

Inadequate water supply and sanitation facilities in schools, aside from being a health hazard, affect school attendance, retention and educational performance. In Guinea, 90% of public schools lack water supply and sanitation facilities including the biggest university in Conakry, which has more than five thousand students.  In addition, less than 10% of schools have hand-washing facilities next to latrines. Lack of sanitation facilities causes rapid spread of disease and infection amongst the students and their families. This, in turn, leads to poor attendance and performance, often resulting in early withdrawal from school.

Water, Soap, and Toilets in Schools

Latrines at Kipe School

Together with our partners from the Ministry of Education (MOE), and with the participation of the children themselves, we will help develop locally-appropriate child-friendly toilet and hand washing facilities and campaigns that incorporate key criteria such as privacy and security for girls and ease-of-use for younger children.  Children will benefit greatly from access to new sanitation and hand-washing accommodations, which will lead to increased health and hygiene, reduced absenteeism, improved exams results and a brighter future.

 

The steps that will be taken to achieve this goal are:

  • Construct water wells in schools that lack potable water and help sanitize existing water through chlorination.
  • Build or improve toilet and hand-washing facilities with separate lavatories for girls and boys.
  • Educate and encourage the school staff to implement the program in their daily routine and reinforce the behavior in their students.
  • Encourage the implementation of reward programs, such as naming hand-washing champions in each school to promote the importance of cleanliness and sanitation.
  • Support school participation in Global Hand Washing Day, a multi-partner global awareness-raising initiative celebrated in over 85 countries each year. The focus of the program is on schools and school-age children. Many countries use it as an opportunity to raise awareness and to launch year-round programs in schools. For example, children promote hand washing in television spots, mobile phone messages are used to reach millions of people and children sign pledges to wash their hands with soap before meals.
  • In 2010, AFG and its wonderful and caring team installed a water well for the hospital, and now we have clean potable water to help us better care for our patients. — Dr. Soumah, Jean Paul II Hospital in Conakry

  • AFG needs your help! We depend on contributions from foundations, companies and individuals to continue our work in Guinea.

    Our primary goal is to assist hospitals and health centers in Guinea who care for the welfare of the Guinean population. We do this by providing medical aid, improving and upgrading existing infrastructure in health facilities and implementing disease prevention and treatment programs.

    We also aim to improve the overall quality of life of the population by supporting and promoting economic growth and technical development.

    You can make a difference!