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Acción contra el hambre

Water, sanitation, and hygiene in healthcare centers in the Matam region, Senegal

  • ACH and WAW project Senegal image


Matam region. Matam, Ranérou, Thilogne, and Kanel healthcare districts

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Direct beneficiaries: 87,944 (40,454 children under 15 and 44,412 women). People receiving healthcare at the Matam, Ranérou, Thilogne, and Kanel health centers and medical staff. In particular, pregnant women and babies and those who receive natal and prenatal medical services.

Indirect beneficiaries: 293,146 (134,847 children under 15 and 148,039 women). People who live in the project intervention area. Especially children under 15 and women.


November 2021 - October 2022


The Matam region in northern Senegal stands out for water scarcity and recurring food crises. Matam has four health districts where the overall prevalence of malnutrition reaches 13%, compared to the national average of 8%. As in other regions of the country, Matam faces a severe humanitarian crisis caused by Covid-19, which has intensified inequalities and the shortcomings of a weak healthcare system. The lack of adequate WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) services affects 26% of the healthcare centers. These shortcomings favor the development of Covid-19 and other nosocomial diseases (contracted by those admitted to medical centers) that raise mortality rates and undermine the population’s confidence.


  • Contribute to reducing morbidity and mortality rates related to diseases transmitted by the lack of safe water and poor sanitation in the Matam region (Senegal).
  • Improve the hygiene and sanitation management quality in the selected community health centers.
  • Guarantee access to safe drinking water points in the selected community health centers.


 It is necessary to improve healthcare quality to build trust among the population and increase the demand for services, especially among children under 15, pregnant women, and babies. This will prevent women from giving birth at home, a fundamental aspect of reducing maternal mortality and allowing them access to prenatal care.  

The risk of infection for those who receive treatments at the health center, especially newborns, will decrease by approximately 15%, reducing their mortality.


The lack of water supply is one of the most common and widespread health risks. Therefore, preventive management is vital. Public awareness and sensitization campaigns, based on the training of community leaders on hygienic practices, show that waterborne diseases can be minimized through regular water quality testing. Raising awareness of this quality control among those responsible for its management is necessary to avoid deaths and illnesses. In this project, we will work in coordination with the National Hygiene Service.

Some of the necessary measures to be implemented to prevent the spread and progress of diseases such as Covid-19 and other nosocomial pathologies are ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all (SDG 6), particularly in healthcare centers as part of adequate universal health coverage.  

The project guarantees access to drinking water in healthcare centers and the selected communities in the Matam region by implementing water quality monitoring and treatment actions. It will also promote good hygiene practices in 69 healthcare centers in the Matam region, which will receive WASH kits.  

In addition to working in coordination with the hygiene brigade of the Matam region, one of the strengths of this project can be found in the awareness-raising messages aimed at the population via local radio stations.

Authorities and medical experts (locals who know the context very well) have identified needs and the response to be given. Regular meetings have been held with the Matam regional head doctor and the regional head of the hygiene brigade. They have consulted their bases to establish a consensus on prioritizing needs.  

The project will also be developed in collaboration with UNICEF Senegal. These selected healthcare centers will focus on the prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition in a complementary manner to reduce the mortality and morbidity of the population in the Matam region.


Sustainability prospects

The project will be developed with a focus on communal intervention, which will be based on the healthcare system of the Matam medical region and the regional hygiene brigade, which will assume full responsibility for the project’s investments from its start.  

The healthcare centers will manage the kits for users’ sustainable and optimum use (communities and healthcare staff). The supply of water, sanitation, and hygiene kits will go hand in hand with the training of medical staff and communities on their management and use. In turn, management committees will be strengthened and/or created in the healthcare centers, integrating resource sharing and community mobilization.