In March 2020 Ramos urged that water had to get back on the health agenda and required critical intervention. He called for a greater focus and consultation with industry players regarding the looming water crisis that Covid-19 would bring.
“What is happening in the Eastern Cape hospitals is further proof that leaders in government must intervene now before it is too late,” he said.
In the epicenter of Covid-19 infections and deaths in the province – Nelson Mandela Bay Metro – health workers in one facility use a bath as a storage “tank” to store water where they scoop water out to flush toilets and wash their hand.
“We urged, from the start of the pandemic, that government should take heed of water scarcity and supply together with the development and implementation of Coronavirus strategies,” Ramos said. “Water sanitation and hygiene is essential to reducing the spread of infection and multi-resistant germs like Covid-19.”
He believes that investment and urgent delivery of water storage solutions that are properly planned and delivered can help clinics that do not have running water. “These tanks have to be fit for purpose. At the outset of the pandemic, the entire supply of plastic tanks in the country was purchased, as the government rushed to get water to areas without it.
“But the tanks employed at the time – 5000-liter plastic water tanks – are meant for individual home use.
“We must ensure the solutions in place are right for the number of people working and visiting a health facility and their average consumption and usage patterns.” Ramos likened the solution employed at the outset of the pandemic to using a smart car instead of a taxi to support the commuter’s needs.
“As can be seen in the Eastern Cape, we are failing constitutionally regarding water infrastructure even at the level of basic supply,” added Ramos. “Water stewardship and investment in Water, Sanitation and Health infrastructure is necessary not only during this Covid-19 crisis but to meet the challenges of water scarcity that are predicted to worsen by 2030.”
Ramos believes that the country has the capabilities to deliver water storage solutions, for example, the Abeco Tanks manufacturing facility in Johannesburg had been up and running producing tanks for many health facilities in Africa.
“We just have to work together to come up with the most effective solution to saves lives,” he concludes.