My WATSAN Life in Ethiopia: Week 4

This dedicated, hardworking team are fighting disease in our projects in Ethiopia. But they aren't medics... 

Throughout the past couple of weeks I have been working at the hospital in Wardher while monitoring the water and sanitation (WATSAN) activities at the acute watery diarrhea case treatment center. MSF does not run the hospital but manages it in cooperation with the Regional Health Bureau for the nutrition activities: ITFC (In-patient Therapeutic Feeding Center) and ATFC (Ambulatory Therapeutic Feeding Center).

The only female Waste Manager at the hospital. She is responsible for burning soft waste (gauze, paper, tissue…), crushing glass and properly disposing of organic waste. We also have a separate waste pit for needles.

WATSAN Supervisor at the hospital. Everyday I get to work with this upbeat energetic supervisor. (He makes coming to work a delight!) He is from a town a few hours drive away and last week he sent home lots of new clothes for his wife and their ten children to celebrate the end of Ramadan.

This is the lovely carpenter that has been helping me maintain the acute watery diarrhea case treatment center and hospital. He speaks only one word in English, an exaggerated “Yesss”. Drawing in the sand and making sound effects with hand gestures have been our main means of communication when a translator was not available.

Morning shift cleaner at the hospital. Her nails are tinted with fading henna, but her feet are covered in fresh deep black dye to celebrate the end of Ramadan. She has been working at the hospital for a few months to help support her family and their seven goats.

A new cleaner at the hospital: she is responsible for disinfecting potties (toddler toilets) with chlorine solution. This population is not used to latrines since they are nomads, usually moving with their livestock from one grazing area to the next. Most of the patients are under five years old, so this behaviour change from defecating on the dirt to in a potty is not an easy one, but seems to be successful.

WATSAN Technician: He is responsible for a variety of tasks around the hospital, acute watery diarrhoea treatment center and base compound. Whether it’s trucking in water to fill up the tanks at the hospital or rounding up the abundance of kittens at our house compound for relocation, this guy is there.