Health care coverage in the target area is as low as 21% and functional health care facilities, often a two-day donkey ride away, are as rare and far to reach as reliable sources of water — it is not uncommon that people who could easily be saved will die simply because they cannot receive basic medical care. Inaccessibility to health care has greatly impeded the quantity and quality of health services provided as well as the distribution of health related information available to the populations (including information related to hygiene and sanitation), thereby contributing to poor health in the region.
Compounding poor health and nutrition of individuals — most particularly the population’s most vulnerable members (children, women, the elderly, and the disabled) is the aforementioned water scarcity. Children suffer from hives and lice because they cannot bathe for lack of water during the nine-month dry season. Dysentery and diarrhea are an everyday occurrence, mostly due to the critical water unavailability and poor water quality. Even during the rainy season when marsh water is abundant, the water is not potable or suitable for bathing because it is contaminated with animal excrement and other filth. Mortality rates due to dehydration and water-borne illness are consequently as high as 25% among infants under five years of age living in the target area. Infant mortality rates among the highest in the world, as one out of every two children die before the age of five.