WaSH program in Dominica

Chief Medical Officer (Ag), Dr. Laura Esprit has said the absence of safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) contributes to over 890,000 deaths per year.  

Esprit made this statement at the commencement of a two-day workshop and training for WaSH in Emergencies which will run from Thursday, December 1 and Friday, December 2.  

The program is done through the Ministry of Health, Wellness and New Health Investment, in conjunction with DOWASCO, UNICEF, CDEMA and the National Coordinating WaSH. 

This training workshop is geared toward strengthening Dominica’s capacity to better respond to emergencies particularly in the areas of water, sanitation and hygiene.  

The opening ceremony was held at the Windsor Park sports stadium on Thursday.  

“Safe water adequate sanitation and hygiene it actually contributes to disease prevention and according to the World Health Organization the absence of safe wash contributes to over 890,000 deaths per year from things like diarrhea as a result of unsafe drinking water sanitation and hand hygiene,” she said. 

She noted that the link between human health and safe watch have long been established with results in improved human health from numerous diseases and conditions being related to improvements in WaSH.   

“Improvements in sanitation have been related to reductions in mortality and morbidity from diseases such as typhoid fever, cholera, intestinal wombs polio and also improvements in child survival and nutrition among children.” 

 She noted that over 99% of the Dominican population have access to safe drinking water and 75% have access to adequate sanitation adding that the Ministry of Health disease surveillance program monitor disease trends to identify communicable diseases among a population.   

“our countries across subscribes to the United nations sustainable developmental goals with goal #6 being to achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water and sanitation as well as the global acceleration framework as a pathway towards achieving safe sanitation for all,” she said. 

“ water and sanitation infrastructure financing capacity development and data and information management are key areas in which we are expected to invest to achieve the SDG’s by the intended timeframe.” 

Esprit further stated that because Dominica was recently impacted by a trough system of a few which affected communities of the east of Dominica, hurricane Maria and COVID-19, It is important to identify these vulnerabilities and establish mechanisms to respond in reducing these impacts.  

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