Improving Sanitation, Uganda
Philomena Okello is a senior nursing officer at Lira referral hospital in Uganda. The hospital has capacity for 22 women a day but routinely receives more than 100. She has seen first hand the devastating effects of the lack of safe water and sanitation across numerous health facilities in Uganda. However, Philomena believes that “if they are empowered, people can demand that clean water be put in place.”
She has led a movement amongst health professionals and the community seeking improvements in the hospitals towards better access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). As a result, over the past two years dramatic improvements have been made.
Philomena has stressed that people should know about WASH and should be encouraged to demand that right. She urges her staff and patients to be involved in a movement to demand this right. “It is not just our right to be heard, but our right that they listen to us, involve us. It is the only way to have sustainable change,” she said.