Sagbadai Clinic Borehole Project – Togo
This project is made possible through the partnership of WATER CHARITY and the NATIONAL PEACE CORPS ASSOCIATION.
Sagbadai, located 12 km from Sokode, the regional capital in the Centrale region of Togo, was established as a village by the German government in the early 1900’s as a forced labor community to build the road from Sokode to the town of Bassar to the north-west of Sagbadai. Men, women and children were brought from several areas in northern Togo. Hence, the community today is comprised of several different ethnic groups, with Kotokoli and Kabyé the dominant groups.
The population of 2,000 people are spread out over 5 km on either side of the main road. The community is predominantly Christian and Muslim with a livelihood based on subsistence agriculture of staple crops i.e. maize, sorghum, soy and beans.
The use of herbicides and pesticides is common in fields surrounding shallow wells. Hence, contamination as such may be problem, though no water quality data exists. Household animal husbandry is common (chickens, goats, sheep and pigs) though as in most villages, animals are allowed to roam the village particularly during the dry season resulting in a higher mortality rate than enclosed animals, in addition to adding to the unsanitary conditions around some of the wells.
In recent years, foreign-owned cashew tree plantations have deforested large swaths of land and conflict has arisen between the inhabitants and the local authorities over land rights. A large cashew-nut processing plant was built in the village with borehole wells supplying water needs. No information exists on the impact to the local aquifer. The workforce is brought in from outside the village thus there is little direct benefit to the villagers themselves in what otherwise could be a local source of income.
Regarding the water situation in Sagbadai, most people rely on unprotected wells. There are a number of seasonal shallow, open wells scattered about the village, and two closed wells with hand pumps within a km of the clinic. One of the latter was installed in 2000 and is currently not functioning. The second well with a hand pump lacks a formal water committee and is apparently made available to the public at the whim of one individual. A borehole well and water tower are present at the local primary school. However, this well has been inoperable since its establishment, as either a generator was never purchased or most likely, was never connected to the pump (i.e. disappeared), and thus remains inoperable.
Open defecation is the norm as in most of Togo, and often close to the wells though not exclusively. A few seasonal creeks run through the village and are used mainly for laundry, though consumption is also prevalent, and by herders for watering their herds.
There is currently an environment and agriculture sector Peace Corps Volunteer serving at site.
Description of Clinic
The health clinic in Sagbadai was constructed in 2000 by Plan International and consists the standard 6-room cement block building, including a birthing room. The population served is around 3,800 as the neighboring villages utilize the clinic.
In the absence of municipal power in Sagbadai, the clinic sparingly uses light powered from a gas generator, though the head nurse reported night-time births are often by flashlight. Births currently average seven a month. The clinic treats primarily malaria, gastro-intestinal diseases, child malnutrition and surface wounds.
The clinic was plumbed for running water as most of the rooms have functioning faucets and drains. Water is pumped from a shallow closed well to a metal water tower and gravity-fed to the clinic through a hose.
Sagbadai experiences an overall water scarcity particular during the dry season from early February to the onset of rains in June. The shallow wells located throughout the village typically run dry near the first of the year.
The shallow well at the Sagbadai clinic also runs dry mid-dry season. This well, as all other open wells in village, is around 10 meters deep and thus only reaches the weathered, clayey, lateritic subsurface, recharged with seasonal infiltration, and not the more sustainable aquifer found at depths greater than 40 meters.
A lack of potable water for staff and patients necessitates the use of clinic funds for purchasing water, and an inadequate overall water supply for general cleaning results in less than ideal sanitation practices. Once the clinic well is dry, water is purchased and transported from a borehole well 4 km from the clinic.
Relatives of patients are required to provide water for both consumption and in the case of birth; for cleaning the maternity room, surgical utensils and cloth used during birth. Water is drawn from what few wells are still producing and carried to the clinic. Water is treated with bleach, though how consistently the practice is unclear.
A gas-powered generator supplies power to the submersible pump. However, due to leakage in the water tank, fuel costs are considerable higher than normal, thus adding a financial strain to an already limited supply of clinic funds.
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-meter high cement block water tower,
• a 2 meter**3 polyethylene tank , and
• indoor plumbing (water basin and faucet) to the one room with a subsurface drain (mentioned above).
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.
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.