Long Read
25 March 2015

Celebrating a new rainwater collection system in Tanzania

Of the 342 primary healthcare facilities in Tanzania’s Dodoma region, 174 have no access to any water supply. As a result, patients, including pregnant women, are expected to bring their own water to the healthcare facility. In cooperation with Witteveen+Bos and three Tanzanian partners (CBHCC, UFUNDIKO and PATUTA), Simavi aims to improve this situation.

Together we are implementing the MKAJI programme to upgrade water supply and sanitation systems and improve hygiene practices in 100 primary health facilities in the Dodoma region. One example of our work is the construction of a rainwater collection system at four health facilities.

Rainwater collection system

Two local contractors were selected to carry out the job. Construction began by the end of 2014 and included the installation of rain gutters on the roofs of the health facilities. These are connected to one or more storage tanks. In addition, a bathroom was built next to the delivery room, as well as latrines with hand-washing facilities and a drain for wastewater.  This enables health workers to clean their hands, wash patients with safe water and ensure medical instruments are sterile.

Festive demonstration with(out) rain

By February 2015 the rainwater system was ready for use. A celebratory inauguration was organised together with the health staff and the Mpwapwa community. The director of the Swiss Agency for Development and Change (SDC) was invited to witness the first demonstration of the rainwater collection system. Everything was ready for the big day – except the rain. It hadn’t rained since the storage tanks had been installed, so they were totally empty.

Thankfully it started to rain the day before the ceremony, just enough to fill the storage tanks and demonstrate the new system. The inauguration was a success. The community prepared a speech to express their gratitude and one of the local partners prepared a play to promote hygiene behaviour.

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