The renovations carried out at the San Miguel CIS are part of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) project, Prevention of new COVID-19 infections and deaths, financed by the Government of Canada. The project also included five other priority health facilities in Honduras (two more in the Central District of the Francisco Morazán department, one in Atlántida and two in Cortés).
Dr. Javier Almendares, Director of the San Miguel CIS, says that due to infrastructure issues and water shortages in Tegucigalpa, "the water supply was very poor" at the center, and some key areas “had been without water for almost 13 years.” As a result, they were forced to tackle the issue by storing water in tanks, basins and barrels.
Thanks to the support from PAHO, things took a 180-degree turn," Almendares said. “Now we don’t need to go searching for places to wash our equipment or leave the clinic to wash our hands with soap and water. We have water 24 hours a day.”
The improvements at the health center increased water storage capacity by an additional 5,000 liters and included measures to refurbish and repair the elevated tank, restore water supply and install 14 new sinks in patient care areas.
"The remodeling was a blessing for us and for our patients," María Verónica Cerrato Alabarda, Chief of Dentistry at San Miguel CIS said. "We were able to get rid of the water containers and now get clean water from the taps. This enables us to work more comfortably and to provide a better service.”
The renovations, which were implemented during 2021, became even more relevant with the circulation of COVID-19. Frequent hand washing with soap and water is one of the fundamental measures to prevent COVID-19 and other infections both in and outside health care services, as well as to ensure safe and quality care for all.
"The center is also cleaner and people recognize that," says its director. The increased availability of water enables the cleaning staff to carry out their work regularly, without having to transport heavy containers of water from the courtyard.
As well as restoring running water, the renovations also involved repairs to the roofs, the remodeling of the vaccination and equipment washing areas, and the construction of a shed for solid and hospital waste management, key measures to protect the health of personnel and prevent environmental contamination.
These improvements also enabled the San Miguel CIS, which serves a population of 105,000 people from 33 neighborhoods, to extend its service hours. "In addition to the morning shift, we now have an evening and weekend shift, where between 5,000 and 6,000 patients are seen each month," Dr. Almendares added.
The importance of hand hygiene in healthcare is highlighted globally every May 5, World Hand Hygiene Day, this year with the campaign: SAVE LIVES: Clean Your Hands campaign. The initiative seeks to unite people in improving hand hygiene during health care delivery, a practice that saves millions of lives every year. This year, the San Miguel CIS has plenty of reasons to celebrate this day.