by Michelle Wolf

There are 700,000 people in need of adequate healthcare in Diffa, including over 302,000 refugees living in refugee camps and displacement villages. Sixty-eight percent of the people in Diffa do not have access to healthcare. There are only 51 healthcare facilities in Diffa. Four of these facilities have been temporarily closed and 15 are staffed by only one healthcare professional. Patients can be seen by a qualified doctor in just six healthcare facilities. With the access to adequate healthcare so limited how can the increasing population of Diffa maintain a healthy community and reduce the risk of epidemic?

Healthcare facilities offer so much more than basic medical care. They also provide programs that educate communities on the importance of good personal hygiene practices, which directly help prevent spread of disease and reduce instances of epidemics. Introducing WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) programs in areas with limited healthcare access is essential to prevent the spread of disease before it becomes an epidemic.

When Wells Bring Hope begins to work with a village, the first step is always to assist the villagers with the construction of latrines. Latrines separate human waste product from coming into contact with people. This alone reduces the instances of contracting diarrhea, Hepatitis C, and other fecal-borne diseases. The latrines also help to prevent human waste from contaminating groundwater that villages use to clean, cook, and drink from.

After drilling the well that brings in clean, safe water, Wells Bring Hope teaches well maintenance and good personal hygiene practices. A key strategy for infection control is to increase emphasis on washing hands with soap and keeping cooking utensils clean. With the clean water provided by the well, parents can clean their children faces to eliminate the risk of trachoma, an eye disease that caused blindness and vision impairment. The risk of children succumbing to diarrhea is virtually eliminated because children are drinking and washing in clean, safe water.

Wells Bring Hope does so much more than drill wells. We educate communities on practices that will keep them healthy and provide monthly support for up to 15 years to ensure that those practices are implemented. This continued support ensures communities have developed healthy daily habits that reduces the risk of diseases and illness that require access to adequate healthcare facilities that are scarce for those living in Diffa. By focusing on improving community conditions, health conditions improve.

This holiday season please consider giving to Wells Bring Hope. Your contribution helps communities and children prosper and prevents the spread of disease, stopping epidemics before they start.

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