International charity WaterAid is inviting churches to be part of its Christmas Appeal, The Water Effect, by encouraging congregations to hold collections and raise awareness of the vital need for improving access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene in healthcare facilities around the world.
The appeal will raise money to help transform lives in some of the world’s poorest communities, where more than one in three hospitals and clinics do not have clean water, and almost one in five do not have decent toilets.
WaterAid will help bring these facilities to hospitals like Talo Health Centre in Mali, where the three staff members currently make around five trips a day to collect water from a pump 300m away that only works for a few hours a day. When it runs out, they rely on traditional hand dug wells where the water isn’t safe.
Without clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene, the staff can’t deliver quality healthcare, putting the lives of patients in danger – especially vulnerable mothers and babies.
Globally, every minute, a newborn baby tragically dies from an infection caused by dirty water and an unclean environment, while 800 children die every day from related diarrhoeal diseases.
By supporting WaterAid, churches can help people like Kotimi, a mother from Mali whose three-month-old baby, Drissa, got very sick as a result of skin abscesses caused by poor hygiene. Drissa was treated at Talo Health Centre.
Kotimi, mum to baby Drissa, said:
“Every time [I come here] there has been a water problem. When I delivered Drissa, the water pump was broken. We were obliged to go and find water somewhere else. I was really afraid because I knew the water they used to help me clean my child and me wasn’t clean water, so I was afraid we could get sick.
“If it is possible to have running water in our health centre here, we would celebrate our happiness. It would help the doctor to do things very easily, and it would also help us women to be clean and to clean our children during deliveries.”
Marcus Missen, Director of Fundraising and Communications at WaterAid said:
“It’s hard to imagine needing medical help and ending up somewhere that doesn’t have clean water or decent toilets. No midwife should have to deliver babies without clean water to keep their hands and space clean, and no parent should have to take their child to the hospital because the water they drink has made them sick. Yet, this is the reality faced by millions of people and healthcare professionals in the world’s poorest places.
“Clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene can change everything for a community, and this is what WaterAid is committed to providing through The Water Effect. We invite churches to get involved so together, we can transform the lives of people around the world who still do not have access to clean water close to home.”
Money raised for WaterAid this winter will help protect the health of thousands of people and show governments that quality healthcare and clean water, toilets and hygiene go hand in hand, transforming many more lives.
To support the appeal, WaterAid has produced a range of resources for churches, including a poster, Sunday School resource and fundraising ideas. To access these resources and to find out more, visit: www.wateraid.org/uk/christmas.