Khartoum, Sudan, May 30 (Sudanow) - In the past we used to suffer a great deal in getting water to the extent that our children and women had to walk a full hour four times each day to fetch water from the river,” said Farah Abdul Majid, a young man from Banat Village in Girbah Locality.
“Tens of children drowned to death for a little quantity of water during the inundation season,” added Abdul Majid, a Shukriyah tribesman who now works in the village water supply station.
He expressed gratefulness and appreciation to JICA for the efforts it has exerted for making potable water available to the inhabitants by rehabilitating the existing water wells and installing tanks that are filled with pumps, operated by solar energy.
Abdul Majid noted that the sanitary conditions of the villagers have also improved due to the clean water they get in return for token fees paid for the maintenance operations and workers wages.
Potable Water supply :
Egineer Al-Fadil Mohamed Arabi, who took part in execution the project said they began rehabilitation of the wells as a large number became unserviceable.
“The Japanese support was about 500,000 SDG offered by JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) added to the local component provided by the State. The project covered the survey and conducted studies in addition to the rehabilitation of the wells and installation of the solar energy pumps.” He explained.
Japan has stepped up cooperation with Kassala State by assisting in laying down foundations of a sustainable three-fork development of water, health and education, Arabi said.
As regards the water sector, the rehabilitation and development of the water station project aims at improving water supply system in Kassala city by providing a daily 90 litres for an individual in addition to improvement of the living environment for about 240,000 persons.
According to a study conducted by the Water Supply Authority in Kassala State, the station runs in the “Zero Operation” system because “it does not require fuel other than the solar energy which is abundant in our country,” noted a laughing Arabi. The station is surrounded with trees to protect it from the dust and other natural effects, the engineer added.
More than 25years is the life-span of the station for which a number of young men of the village were trained to operate it said Arab, adding that they are planning to construct five other water supply stations.
A JICA team, in cooperation with government authorities, conducted an exploratory study on a model project in Wad Al-Hilau for rehabilitation of potable water wells in the region whose population is about 15,000 people.
According to the study, before the project, there were seven operating wells but went out of action during the rehabilitation in 2011. After the rehabilitation, a considerable number of the population, 2,000 to 3,000 people, were able to secure potable water. The project also helped curb the drowning of children during the river inundation.
The study was aimed at comparing the time, cost and hospital visits before and after implementation of the project. It turned out that the trip to fetch water from the well takes 13 minutes, while the similar trip to the river takes 70 minutes; the well water costs 68 SDG, while the one from the river costs 137 SDG and the rate of visits to hospitals decreased from 3.2 in the past to 2.1 times at present.
The station was built in 1986 but blasted in November 2009 and its condition greatly worsened. There was a risk of another blast. For this reason, JICA, in cooperation with Kassala State government, executed the project for development of the water supply system by building a new processing station in Khatmiyah neighbourhood.
The preliminary estimates indicate that the capacity of the station for the eastern part of Kassala city would be up from 9,200 to 11,050 cubic meters to provide water supply round the clock for about 61,388 residents who were at risk in case the dam collapsed, as was mentioned in the study.
In the western part of the city, the project will provide water supply for about 18,888 residents. The number of the water supply beneficiaries is estimated to increase from 125, 479 in 2009 to 204,739 people in 2016, up from 70% to 100%, while the water treated with chlorine will be raised from 43% to 80%, according to JICA report.
The rehabilitation project of Kassala water supply station provided numerous job opportunities for the workers and technicians among the people of Kassala who expressed to sudanow.info.sd their happiness for working in the project, saying that they have benefitted a great deal from working with the Japanese engineers and technicians involved in the project by training on the modern machinery and technologies, upgrading their skills.
In the framework of capacity-building, 50 personnel of the Water Supply Authority have undergone training in operation of the machinery while 60 personnel of the Authority in Aroma and Girbah Locality will undergo similar training.
According to JICA reports, engineers and operators from the Authority as well as villagers have been trained in financial management, operation and maintenance, including 25 engineers of the Authority who have taken part in 19 training courses. Following proper training courses, the villagers were able to run the wells by themselves and take part in financial planning for operation and maintenance of the water facilities.
In the framework of the technological literacy programme, intensive training courses on computer were held by the Water Supply Authority in Kassala city, Aroma, New Halfa and Girbah. As a result, 58 participants have become able to insert the data of concern to the Authority, removing the problems of the accumulated files and enabling the Authority to be connected the different sections and posts together.
“We hope the Japanese assistance will make considerable and sustainable changes in the people’s lives if the government of Kassala State manages to keep up the achieved capacity-building standard” JICA Director in Khartoum, Hiroyki Mori, stressed.
Reproductive Health: maternity and childhood health care
The reproductive health project being carried out as part of the maternity and childhood sector in Girbah and Wad Al-Hilau localities, which is implemented by JICA in cooperation the ministries of Health in Kassala and Gedaref states has achieved good results.
According to a study conducted in 2010, the mortality rate was drastically cut down in the region 607 to 260 deaths per 100,000 births a year, which means that the mortality rate among mothers decreased from 500 to 250 a year. The project also resulted in increasing visits by midwives to pregnant mothers from 446 to 1626 a year and from an annual 56 to 1097 after-birth visits, with each two villages having one midwife.
JICA health sector concentrates on the maternity and childhood health care in the Sudan where the rate of mortality among mothers and children is high compared with other countries. The level of the maternity and childhood health in Kassala and Gedaref states was very low due to a number of reasons, including a lack in trained personnel, poor health systems and social and cultural customs in Kassala State. Statitics show that 85% of the births are conducted at home by an untrained village midwife or the traditional rope-hanging method. The project was aimed at promoting the knowledge and skills of those midwives to ensure safe birth-giving and developing the health facilities and raising the standards of the health personnel, including the general practitioners, nurses and midwives operating in those facilities.
The Mansourah Health Center in Al-Sherif Hassab Allah area, formerly, consisted of a small clinic and four rooms serving 4,000 people and was run by a medical assistant and a midwife since 1997. After consultation with the village committee and the Ministry of Health in Gedaref State and for proving health care for the ever increasing number of the population, JICA, in consultation with the village committee and the Ministry of Health of Gedaref State, contributed to a project for expansion of the Center to consist of nine rooms for ordinary births, minor surgical operations, a laboratory for medical examination and a pharmacy to be provided with medicines and vaccines by JICA. JICA handed the administration of the Center over to the Gedaref State in a popular ceremony attended by the Ambassador of Japan, H.E. Mr. Ryoichi Horie, Ambassador of Japan to the Republic of the Sudan and JICA Khartoum Office representative.
The resident physician in Al-Sherif Hassab Allah Village, Dr. Mohamed Hassan Jibrel said the Center offers awareness and health care to all 10 villages of the region of populated by 10,000 to 12,000 people.
He said the project offered training for 955 persons of the villages in about 30 sessions on health awareness and basic knowledge on nutrition, hygiene, health care for pregnant women, etc.
Dr. Abdullah al-Sheikh, the Director-General of Health in Gedaref State, said the project began in 2009 and expanded to cover the surrounding 10 villages. He added that the project, which is being implemented by JICA from the Health Center, contributes to the provision of medical equipment and recruiting national doctors, midwives and health visitors for work in the Center, o0ffering them accommodation facilities. The project, according to Dr. Abdullah, also offers training for midwives operating in the region and provides local transportation between the villages. It can be said that 95% of birth-giving in the region is conducted under the supervision of trained midwives, he added.
JICA is among the world’s largest bilateral cooperation agencies. It plays an important role in implementing bilateral governmental projects and provides technical support and other kinds of assistance in addition to dispatching Japanese volunteers for overseas cooperation.
Japanese volunteer Goamy Sakware, who works in the Center, said: “I have been working here since 2011, supervising the training of midwives and health visitors on taking blood pressures of pregnant women, clinical tests and health awareness.”
Speaking about her personal experience, she added: “At first the local community, especially the women, did not welcome the role of the health visitors but with the health awareness and cooperation by the local personnel working with us, we managed to overcome this problem. The negative opinion on the role of the health visitor has changed and our mission in the Center bore good results.
“I prefer to work in rural regions, offer assistance and health care to the ordinary people to working in big hospitals. Now I am happy for working in this region where the people are kind and cooperative. Previously, I worked in Madagascar for two years.”
JICA projects assistant Insaf Mohamed Mussa said the project began on 5 August 2010 with the main objective of cutting down the mortality rates of mothers and newborns in Gedaref State. It began with health awareness programmes which included tours of the villages in Al Sherif Hassab Allah region for the aim of correcting erroneous concepts and harmful customs being practiced by people, particularly by women. Those programmes focused on primary health care offered during the pregnancy and then the birth-giving and post-birth stages, Mussa said.
The midwives were distributed to the neighbouring villages after they were trained and provided with local tools to use in their operations in the villages.
Hassan Mohamed Ali, a resident of the Arab region, expressed his happiness with the health services provided by the Center in the form of treatment and medicines for himself, his wife and children. He remembered the suffering they used to experience in the past when they had to visitt the nearest hospital, with the trip taking one hour, particularly during the rainy season.
“The care we have found from the resident doctor and his Japanese assistant, is unequal in any way here,” he said.
In 2010, following conclusion of East Sudan Peace Agreement, JICA played a significant role in support of the development in Kassala State in different spheres, Ali said.
Japanese experts worked side by side with their Sudanese counterparts for implementation of JICA projects, he said, noting that this was part of the successful administrative policy of continued follow-up and effective partnership.
The Director of the Development Administration of Kassala State, Jamal Mohamed al-Hassan, said: “Kassala State witnessed intensive presence of international humanitarian organization in different times due to the geographic position and increasing numbers of refugees in the State, in addition to the conflicts and civil wars in the past. But what we have experienced from the work with JICA is quite different from the other organizations. JICA performance is characterized with impartiality and honesty away from ulterior agenda and vested interests.”
He stressed the importance of the principle of continued improvement in implementation of the projects. “I am sure this policy is the password of the success of Japan because it is first and foremost based on the capacity-building of the human resources,” Hassan said.
Japan and the Sudan are linked together with intimate diplomatic, economic and cultural ties since inception of their diplomatic relations in 1956. Those ties have been further cemented after implementation of the development assistance programme which consisted of a package of aid offered by the Japanese Government in response to a request by the Sudan for accomplishment of development, stability and security.
Japan opines that the economic cooperation which includes the formal development assistance programme is an important international responsibility of the economically and technologically developed countries building towards the countries in need of support.
It believes that this economic support contributes to building international peace and security based on political and economic foundations. Japan regards the Sudan as a friend and an equal partner and one of the important countries for achievement of peace and stability in Africa and in the world at large. This is the backbone of the bilateral cooperation and support offered by Japan for the Sudan to help it resolve some of the challenges Khartoum faces.
E N D