Temwa helps Usisya Community Avoid Cholera outbreak 

Temwa has helped avert disaster by assisting Usisya Health Centre in regaining access to clean water.

Temwa Malawi was contacted to help improve access to waste facilities due to a broken water pump and multiple breakdowns in support. With a local outbreak of cholera in the wider Nkhata Bay district, fixing this situation was crucial to avoid a health disaster. 

Patients in the waiting room of Usisya Health Centre

A basic necessity 

For the last year the health centre relied on water from the local Water Users Association (WUA), due to a broken electric water pump. And Temwa Malawi learned that the hospital had recently gone for two weeks without any water due to poor pressure.

The health centre in Usisya sits on a raised slope, at the bottom of the Kandoli Mountains. This is higher up than the water table, making it difficult to pump water up to the facility. 

Every health facility needs clean and safe water for use, as it is essential for washing patients and equipment. This lack of water at the clinic created huge challenges for healthcare staff. Instead of tending to patients, they had to walk almost 2 kilometres to nearby villages to fetch water!

This put patients, staff and visitors at high risk of contracting water-borne diseases including cholera, which can be deadly. To protect themselves, the community carried water in buckets from their households or from Lake Malawi to the hospital.

But, now Usisya Community has been able to reinstall the electrical water pump at the health centre.

‘A true definition of communities coming together’  

In June the Health Management Committee called for Temwa Malawi to help, on several acute hygiene issues at the hospital. Among these was an overall lack of reliable water source, usable toilets and waste disposal facilities, such as an incinerator or waste bins.

In response to the community’s request, Temwa Malawi is supporting the community through our Improving Access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) project. As a result the health centre is gaining access to six toilets and two bathrooms. This will reduce cases of open defecation, which was on the rise in the absence of usable toilets.

In a following meeting, Temwa Malawi learned that health centre staff had even considered closing the hospital to prevent the nearby cholera outbreak from spreading. Cholera has currently claimed the lives of nine people in the south of Nkhata Bay district. 

Thanks to our community driven approach, Temwa Malawi was able to help the community to independently raise funds to reinstall the water pump. Temwa Malawi Programme Manager, Kondwani Botha said: 

“80% of this work here is from my Temwa team and I am very proud of them. This is a true definition of “when communities come together.” 

More Good News!  

AND the Usisya Health Management Committee and other stakeholders were able to secure funding for the pump’s reinstallation.

In the 15 to 20 minutes that community members made calls to potential funders, they managed to raise over 640,000 MWK (£540). This is more than double the 350,000 MWK (£295) originally quoted for installing the pump. The Health Management Committee said the extra money will be used to purchase items for cleaning the hospital surroundings.

Usisya Health Centre, accommodates over 17,600 people from the surrounding areas. The reinstallation of the pump will protect everyone from water borne diseases. Temwa also provides subsidised water filters to local communities to enable easy access to clean water in an affordable and prompt manner.

One water filter costs just £5, proof that so much good can be gained with very little. Set up a monthly donation of only £5 with monthly giving and help people in Nkhata Bay North to become self-reliant and climate-resilient. 

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