Goubi Clinic Borehole System Project – Togo
This project is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the NATIONAL PEACE CORPS ASSOCIATION.
Goubi is a large town of 11,000 which includes the surrounding villages, and is in the southeastern corner of the Centrale Region approximately 20 kilometers from the Benin border to the east. The town’s name was originally “Agotobi” which meant “cross the river, climb and give birth”, shortened to “climb and give birth” according to local origin lore. The inhabitants are a varied mix of Ana (considered the original inhabitants with origins in Benin), Kabyé, Losso, Moba and Fulani. Christianity and Islam are the dominant religions with undoubtedly some animism present.
Most of the inhabitants are subsistence cultivators farming maize, soy, manioc, beans and sesame. Traditional animal husbandry exists (free range poultry, sheep and goat herds) except for the Fulani herders who pasture large herds of long-horn cattle. Some beekeeping exists and the diet is occasionally supplemented with river fish. Staple food supplies are scarce in the months leading up to the one seasonal harvest in September and October hence food insecurity is a concern to most of the population during that period.
A government-sponsored municipal water tower and distribution system was installed in 2016 and supplies much of the town however the service is intermittent. When water is lacking the inhabitants utilize the borehole wells of which four are currently functioning. Many shallow, open wells are scattered throughout the town and in individual household compounds. Several small rivers crisscross the region and are mainly used for laundry and bathing though during the dry season unfiltered, river water is consumed.
Several Togolese NGOs have had various projects in the areas of school construction, youth development, HIV and STD prevention, school violence and gender equity. There is currently a Peace Corps health volunteer at site. The original Goubi health clinic, a small, simple 4-room banco building was built in 1988 by the community. A larger cement brick structure was constructed in 1995 as a gift from a local government official along with a shallow, covered well operated with a manual pump. There is no municipal electric power; solar lighting is available in the maternity room only, and the refrigerator is powered by gas.
The common ailments treated are malaria, gastro-intestinal, and trichomonas, a sexually transmitted disease. HIV infection is prevalent however people are reluctant to be treated or tested so accurate estimates are lacking. The number of births average 20 a month which is a very small birth rate given the size of the population. The lack of power and running water may be a deterrent as the patients themselves and the female relatives are required to provide their own water. The Goubi clinic staff participate in a successful national maternal-child nutrition program (partly designed by a Peace Corps Volunteer in 2012) to identify severely malnourished babies and toddlers, using the brachial perimeter method (arm circumference measurement). Children thus identified are enrolled in an intensive, high calorie nutritional diet and monitoring program until the desired weight is attained.
Recently, the main clinic building was plumbed to receive water from the municipal system hence the interior is also plumbed for running water. The municipal system is considered “relatively” potable however when water is lacking, the shallow open wells including the clinic well are unpotable. The staff and patients then resort to using the open well which requires treatment with bleach. Water used for cleaning surfaces is generally unsanitary. The lack of running water is particularly onerous for women giving birth as the female relatives are required to haul water during and post-birth for cleaning of the maternity room, utensils and birthing cloth.
This project is to build a borehole well for the clinic. Under the guidance of the Department of Hydraulics and Sanitation’s regional office in Sokode and with support from the Ministry of Health regional director, who identified clinics with the most critical need, and a local drilling company, this project proposes to drill a 60- to 100-meter borehole well at the clinic, equipped with the following:
• An electric submersible pump
• a 4.5-meter high cement block water tower
• a 2 meter3 polyethylene tank
• piping to the main intake valve at the clinic
The submersible pump will be run using a gas-powered generator as there is currently no electric power in the community. The local drilling company selected, Plomberie Génerale de Réalisation de Forage, in operation since 1998 and based in Tchamba, has extensive experience drilling deep borehole wells throughout Togo and regionally in Burkina Faso, Benin and Nigeria.
Number of people affected by the project: 11,200
This project will be managed by Anne Jeton, hydrologist and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV), Burkina Faso (’82-’85) and Returned Peace Corps Response Volunteer (RPCRV), Togo (’16 -’17).
Anne was sent to Togo on behalf of Water Charity to develop and administer new projects, and to coordinate with Peace Corps.
Monitoring and Maintenance
Along with staff from the Department of Hydraulics and Sanitation who will monitor the well “indefinitely” (the well data becomes part of the official borehole well database, and as such is included in periodic field monitoring by technicians based in each Prefecture ), the contract for well drilling states a one-year guarantee provided by the drilling company. Problems with pump and borehole functioning are typically resolved in the first month of use.
Proper screening of the borehole and submersible pump placement relative to the static water table often mitigate most common problems. However, any mechanical problems surfacing in the first year will be the responsibility of the drilling company.
The clinic staff will be responsible for maintaining a well repair account which will be funded from the sale of medicines. The clinic will decide a nominal fee for water use should the water account be insufficient, or the community will be asked to contribute directly to the costs.
The PCV near the site will monitor construction and do periodic evaluations.
This project has been funded by an anonymous donor.