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Water is a pressing issue in many Tibetan communities. Locals may be forced to travel 5-15 kilometers a day to fetch drinking water and water their livestock. Locals carry plastic water containers and vehicle inner tubes using motorcycles, by pulling carts, using donkeys, and on their own backs. Since water is inadequate, locals do not wash clothing and bathe frequently, thus personal hygiene and sanitation facilities conditions are poor.
Community clinics are poorly equipped and lack funds to purchase adequate equipment. Locals may spend hours reaching township or county hospitals for medical treatment. Given the lack of health education and hygiene training, local Tibetans lack basic knowledge of sanitation and hygiene, resulting in STDs, flu, eye diseases, hepatitis, accidental injuries, high infant mortality, and many other preventable diseases. Unprotected sex is common. Many locals have never seen a condom. Many teenage girls become pregnant before marriage, leading to family conflicts. Ganglha strives to address health issues through health training and building community-based health clinics stocked with an initial supply of medicines and staffed with experienced Tibetan doctors, reducing hours needed to seek medical treatment and saving money for trips to consult faraway doctors. Health issues are serious and the need for health care and a training system is urgent.
Many communities lack shower facilities. Locals in remote communities bathe once a year or never. If they want to take a shower, they must travel to local township towns or county towns. People who wish to wash with warm water must spend time collecting sheep and livestock dung to heat water. Because of locals' lack of sanitation and hygiene awareness, they get sick easily. Women pay little attention to their health – most never bathe – partly because they have received no, or very little, instruction about health and hygiene. Even when they are unwell they wake up early and work hard all day long. As most local women grow older, many become chronically ill and take medicine that frequently does not help, but consumes a significant part of the family's income. This sometimes lead to domestic discord, including divorce. Many sicknesses are aggravated by not having access to bathing facilities. The high cost of healthcare and the long and difficult distance to the nearest health clinic means that villagers tend not to bother about sickness until it has become very serious. By the time they arrive at a clinic, their condition may have become very serious.
Ganglha seeks support to provide bathing facilities in rural communities. Ganglha implemented a number of solar water heater facilities in rural Tibetan communities. Solar water heaters are a low-cost, environmentally friendly energy source. They are simple to use and easy to maintain. With solar water shower facilities, women able to maintain better personal hygiene and are able to shower privately.
Due to lack of toilet and pigsty sanitation infrastructures, locals urinate and defecate in and near village households, which puts humans and livestock in close proximity, creating conditions for diseases to cross from people to animals, e.g., stray pigs eat fecal matter, enter homes, and lick bowls and cooking pots, transmitting diseases to people. Ganglha seeks support to implement toilets, pigsties, and greenhouses in remote and poor communities. Manure in the toilets and pigsties are composted by recycling fertilizers in farming. Basic health-training programs are implemented while focusing on how and why to use pigsties and toilets, and raise awareness of health care.