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Basic Health Care Project Laos

The SRC Basic Health Care Project in Laos (since 1993) In Laos diarrhoeal diseases are ranked the third leading cause of death for children under 5 years of age, mainly due to poor access to safe drinking water and sanitation services. The SRC, present in country since the 1980ies, currently implements a WASH programme jointly with the Lao Red Cross and in close collaboration with the Government health departments in the Northern Provinces Luang Prabang and Oudomxay. The best suitable technical solution in these mountain areas is the gravity-fed water supply system (GFS). Interventions at village levels start with community dialogues analysing the problems and finding solutions using participatory tools. For the entire construction the communities provide labour and local material. Specifically formed village water committees are in charge of operation and maintenance of the GFS. In this process, trainings are organised for the village technicians. The water committees rely on water fees from each household for purchasing spare parts and paying the local technicians. SRC promotes hygiene through a vast education programme based on the Red Cross Volunteers (RCVs) network. In each village, two RCVs are trained to disseminate hygiene messages and safe hygiene practises. The readiness to invest in the construction of household latrines arises from the families’ growing awareness of the health benefits associated with the use of latrines. Their financial contributions are required to develop ownership, a guarantee that the latrine will be used.