Supporting improvements to the St. Albert’s Mission Hospital water system is one of BHA’s four areas of focus, along with Cancer Prevention and Education, Improving Women’s Health and Meeting Urgent Needs.
The St. Albert’s Mission Hospital water system provides water to the entire mission complex, with a population of about 3,000. It includes the hospital, parish, a primary school of 1,200 students and a secondary school of 900 students, and the homes of mission staff, domestic workers and dependent relatives.
Water shortages at St Albert’s result from unreliable poor seasonal rains, drought, failure of pumps, unavailability of fuel for diesel pumps and general power outages that last days to weeks.
In 2017, for example, a 14-day general power outage forced the hospital to discharge all but the most critical patients. “Potable water from boreholes became zero. It was difficult to manage the hospital with piles of linen not washed because they could not cope by hand washing,” wrote Medical Superintendent Dr. Julia Musariri.
In response to the power-outage problem, Dr. Musariri proposed installing a solar water pump that would lift treated water from holding tanks on the ground up to the water towers that supply the hospital. BHA sent $9,400 for the purchase. The funds included $2,000 raised by the St. Louis College of Pharmacy’s (SLCOP) International Student Organization during their 2016 fundraiser. Today, the new pump enables the hospital to continue caring for patients during general power outages. See 2017 Key Accomplishments for photos of the pump’s installation.
Our efforts to improve the St. Albert’s water system began before BHA’s formation. In 2004, the SLCOP International Student Organization and others raised funds to help Dr. Tarira build the dam and create the reservoir.
In 2016, BHA provided nearly $6,600 for the purchase of the pipes, fittings and pump needed to bring raw water from the reservoir to new holding tanks near the hospital and water towers, a distance of about 1.5 miles (see photo). Donors in Australia provided funds for the green holding tanks.