MALI: BECEYA Project’s Activities Contribute to an Increase of the Attendance Rate at Niono Reference Health Centre

The Improving the Environment of Care for Mothers and Children attending Health Facilities Project, also known as BECEYA, contributed to an increase in attendance rates at Niono Reference Health Centre.

Indeed, after two years of activities at Niono Reference Health Centre, BECEYA Project has largely contributed to improving the health environment and the quality of services, thus increasing the Reference Health Centre’s attendance rate from 8 390 to 19 859 between 2014 and 2017. The involvement of the first Reference Health Centre manager and the hygiene technician was a remarkable asset.

“If the facilities are clean, it makes people want to come to the Reference Health Centre. Otherwise, there was a time when the Niono Reference Health Centre was deserted”, explains the Niono Reference Health Centre hygiene technician and Project focal point.

Actually, an improve environment of care in health settings is a strong determinant of health facility attendance. Clean treatment rooms, access to drinking water, electricity and latrines as well as the sound management of biomedical waste are all contributing to improving the quality of the health care provided to the populations.

As a result, the District Medical Officer regularly monitors and supervises hygiene activities in the health facilities.

Sanitation: Everyone’s Business 

To achieve this, the district management team initiated several activities:

  • Weekly meetings between the Reference Health Centre’s maintenance and management staff;
  • Monthly meetings bringing together biomedical waste management committees,  health care providers and maintenance staff;
  • The launch of bi-annual contest between care units, called mid-year assessments, initiated between the health care providers, “safe units”,  and maintenance staff, “outstanding operators”;
  • Regular sanitation days held by health workers at each facility within the district;
  • Weekly sanitation/hygiene days organized by women’s committee;
  • The recruitment of two people specifically assigned to incinerator maintenance (waste incineration and facility maintenance) and to the maintenance and cleaning of latrines and collective hand-washing devices.

Here’s the testimony of a patient attending the Reference Health Centre during the awareness campaign organized with Project support: “From 1992 to this day, I visited many health facilities in Sogolo (one of them is located 65km from the Reference Health Centre) as well as the Point G hospital (a national 3rd level referral hospital) to accompany 48 patients. In 2015, there were no toilets available for us to do our most basic needs. The toilets of Niono Reference Health Centre were not usable because of poor hygiene conditions. This is the first that I see this Reference Health Centre as so clean. I told myself that the new head doctor must be really different from the others, because the smooth operation of activities depends mostly on the first person in charge”.

For the people working at this Reference Health Centre, sanitation is not just the job of maintenance staff. Hygiene days are organized twice a week in each unit with the participation and involvement of the heads of units.

With the support of the District Medical Officer and the hygiene technician, a competition was launched among 16 care units of Niono Reference Health Centre. In this context, Mrs. Coulibaly Fatoumata Sogodogo, a senior health technician and coordinator of the women’s surgery service, stated: “My staff and I are involved with the support of my interns. To have the first place, when an interns arrive in my department for the first time, he or she is sensitized and informed about hygiene measures and gets guidance on proper sorting of waste using a technical sheet. Patients and the persons accompanying them are all sensitized on the cleanliness of the facilities and the benefits that come with it. The evaluation committee comes by unannounced twice a month to carry out an assessment using the evaluation criteria. Each day, the head doctor visits each unit”.

On a weekly basis, the women’s committee, with the support of youth, conduct community-level awareness activities on sanitation and hygiene, including at the Reference Health Centre. User awareness campaigns are implemented on the limitation of visits and visitors, hand-washing, the use of garbage cans, etc. Consequently, all those who attend the Reference Health Centre are informed as soon as they arrive.

The “support/ownership” approach followed under BECEYA has contributed to the involvement of all the Project beneficiaries and their increased sense of ownership of essential Project interventions as well as to the improvement of the quality of services provided at the Niono Reference Health Centre.

Through its "support to health facilities" component, BECEYA has contributed to the improvement of sanitation and hygiene conditions at the Niono Reference Health Centre by: supporting the establishment of a pool of supervisors to provide supportive supervision in the Niono health district (including the Reference Health Centre, the Local Service for Social Development and Solidarity Economy, the Local Service for the Promotion of Women, Children and the Family and the Local Service for Sanitation and Control of Pollution and Nuisances); training to health care providers, maintenance staff and all other key parties involved; developing infrastructure; supplying facilities with transport kits, protective equipment for handling and managing biomedical waste and by providing financial support for operation on a quarterly basis. A protocol of collaboration was signed between the BECEYA Project and Niono Reference Health Centre for the implementation of the interventions.