According to the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation (JMP), 37% per cent of the developing world’s population – 2.5 billion people – lack improved sanitation facilities, and over 780 million people still use unsafe drinking water sources.
According to sources in Ministry of Environment, as many as 72 million Pakistanis (till March 2011) out of a total of 180 million (44% population) do not have access to safe drinking.
Shifa Foundation is providing integrated primary health care to the people of Baltistan since September 2010. During the month of March, the total number of patients treated at Civil Hospital, Benazir Shaheed, Gamba, and Skardu were 1656. Out of these 1656 patients, 400 patients (24.15%) were suffering from water-borne illnesses including diarrhea, skin diseases, worm infestation, acid peptic diseases etc.
It was further found that out of 400 patients 263 belonged to two villages named Ranga and Kathpana of Union Council Shigar Kalan which are approximately 5 km away from the civil hospital. Shifa undertook the task to conduct the situational analysis to address and attempt to solve the issue on a permanent basis.
Severity evaluation and addressing the problem
Shifa Foundation facilitated a visit of M&E team of Health Sector & WHO along with DEWS Officer to Kathpana Village, Shigar Kalan UC of District Skardu. The delegation witnessed the severity of the situation and recommended immediate action to resolve the problem at the earliest.
There were numerous hurdles in the way of implementing this plan since there were legal technicalities, engineering issues, taking consent from the locals as their land was to be used for the water channels etc. Shifa Foundation put together a team of dedicated professionals and defined objectives for them in order to meet this challenge.
Construction of water reservoirs at Gamba and Thaggus
Water tanks and reservoirs have been constructed. Shifa Foundation has constructed 2 water reservoirs, one at Civil Hospital Gamba and another at Thaggus. Water supply lines to connect different areas have been laid.
Water testing for contamination
Shifa trained one of its employees on water testing and monitoring at WHO Peshawar Center. Shifa sampled water from all the regions that was being used for drinking and tested it for contamination. Local residents were made aware of the harmful effects of drinking contaminated water. Legal agreements were signed that stated that the people are donating their land free of cost for the construction of underground tanks.
Shifa Kathpana Water Scheme
In response to the high morbidity in the villagers of Katpana, Gilgit Baltistan, due to unsafe drinking water, Shifa Katpana Water supply scheme project was incepted. High arsenic contamination was found in the main water source of the village. The project included finding clean drinking water source, construction of underground well, high power water suction pump and motor, one large overhead water reservoir, network of underground water supply pipeline and 21 communal underground water tanks and handing over to the village committee.
Personal hygiene workshops
Shifa also conducts pre and post Handwash Practice surveys in the flood affected community and village schools during personal hygiene workshops.
Funded by USAID
Funding amount: USD 82,587 + Supplies & Medication
52 Staff Involved
May 2011 to August 2011
Detection of Arsenic Contamination
Construction of large water reservoir: 30,000 Litres
Construction of 21 small tanks: 2,000 Liters
48 feet deep boring & water well
2 Horsepower water motor for water suction
Establishment of water distribution network