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The Gift of Clean Water

A woman washes her hands at a basin on HAS' campus. Without these fountains, many in the area would not have access to potable water.

A woman washes her hands at a basin on HAS’ campus. Without these fountains, many in the area would not have access to potable water.

This holiday season, and year round, HAS gives the gift of clean water. An estimated 40 percent of people in our service area – and throughout Haiti – do not have access to clean water. HAS is working to address this – through the installation of wells, cisterns, and other water catchment and purification systems.

The HAS campus itself is a community resource for clean water access.  The campus has nine fountains, which are available not only to patients and their families in town for care, but also to the nearly 30,000 people living nearby. Water flowing through these taps is pumped from three deep wells, and is purified and safe to drink. Three times a day, for one hour at a time, clean water flows into the buckets of families who may otherwise not have access to potable water.

This is essential for improving public health, according to HAS physical plant Department Manager Jimmie Tinsley. “Providing this water helps prevent severe health problems in this region,” said Tinsley.

In fact, 88 percent of cases of diarrhea worldwide are attributable to unsafe water, and these cases result in 1.6 million deaths each year, most of whom are children who have died from a range of conditions including underweight and malnutrition.

Experts estimate that access to clean water, along with sanitation and hygiene practices, could prevent more than 6 percent of all deaths around the world, and more than 9 percent of the global disease burden. This is why we do what we do.

Every day at 6 am, dozens of families from the community line up at the HAS campus fountains to collect their water.

“We use the water from these fountains for several things: washing dishes, drinking, washing our hands and face,” says Marie from Deschapelles. “Without these fountains, I would spend much of my time and money each day collecting or buying water.”

Lucie, whose child is being treated for an infection in the pediatric ward, says, “I’m filling up a bottle with water now so that I can give a pill to my daughter. Thanks to HAS, I am able to provide her and myself with clean water while we are in Deschapelles, so that we can both become healthier.”

Water & Sanitation work at HAS is made possible through the generosity of our supporting partners, including the Hummingbird Foundation, Rotary Club of Ancaster, Agua Foundation, Ryan’s Well Foundation, and many others. HAS is grateful to our donors, as well as to our hardworking Facilities and Water & Sanitation teams, for giving the gift of clean water to countless communities, schools, and families!

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Lucie fills up a cup of safe, drinkable water, for her daughter. While many of our patients do not have running water at home, HAS ensures that they do have access while they are in the hospital and on our campus.

After being treated, water is pumped up to HAS' 120-foot tall water tower. The tank holds 55,000 gallons, most of which are used each day for the hospital, campus, and community fountains.

Photography by KarlGrobl.com
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