Alison Macintyre | October 2015
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Presentation at the Global Maternal Newborn Health Conference, October 19, 2015

Background: Safe water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) in healthcare facilities (HCFs) play critical roles in infection prevention, especially surrounding childbirth. Despite this, little is known about the status of WASH in HCF in Cambodia.  To meet this need, the Center for Global Safe Water (CGSW) at Emory University developed a tool to assess WASH infrastructure and resources in HCFs. Additionally, WaterAid and partners are assessing what data will be necessary to drive facility level improvements in WASH in HCF by the Ministry of Health (MoH).

Methodology:  The Emory tool utilizes survey data, observations, and water quality indicators and includes modules on water, sanitation, hygiene, infection control, medical waste, wastewater, electricity, and accessibility of WASH resources.  The tool will be deployed in ten provincial hospitals in Cambodia by August 2015. In addition, WaterAid with the National Institute of Public Health Cambodia is conducting a review of existing facility assessments and monitoring tools to identify what WASH data are collected routinely by the MoH. These data will help identify where monitoring and assessments could be adapted to drive investment in operation, maintenance and facility upgrades.

Results: Pilot data suggest that while hospitals have access to improved water sources, the reliability and availability of water is limited due to power outages, dry seasons, and aging infrastructure. Toilet facilities are rudimentary and access to sanitation and handwashing facilities are limited for patients and caregivers. The assessment forms part of a baseline assessment of HCF in Cambodia that will receive a water treatment system, as well as other WASH-promotion programming, through a grant from the General Electric Foundation.

Conclusion:  Data from both studies will contribute to the evidence-base for advocacy and action in the areas of WASH, HCF, and improving health outcomes surrounding childbirth.