Millions of people in the developing world lack access to clean water. This fundamental problem leads to disease, lack of education, and poverty. One out of every five deaths of children under the age of five is due to a water-related disease. Many children in isolated areas are unable to attend school because they spend the whole day gathering water for the family. We work with our partners to provide clean, safe water to people in the developing world.
Safe Water for Health Facilities
One of the most effective ways to improve the overall health of a community is to provide clean water to local health facilities. We have partnered with GE Foundation and Emory University to provide safe water filtration systems at 39 health facilities across five countries.
Untreated water at health facilities can be a dangerous source of infection for already vulnerable patients, yet many hospitals and health centers throughout the developing world do not have access to safe water to wash wounds, serve patients, or clean instruments. This can be especially problematic for expectant mothers. Preventable infections account for 36% of maternal mortality, which is often caused by contaminated water and poor sanitation. One in five newborn deaths in the developing world is due to lack of safe water, sanitation and clean hands.
In addition to our ongoing safe water programs in Rwanda, Ghana and Honduras, two new countries were added to this initiative in 2015, Cambodia and Uganda. In Cambodia, 10 health facilities received water filtrations systems. All the systems are on-line and delivering safe, filtered water. Untreated water samples report bacteria coliforms of 179.3 mpn. Treated water samples show <1 mpn. This shows that untreated water is unsafe, but filtered water is ready for use.
In Uganda, four water filtration systems were donated and installed by the Assist International team. A team of hospital technicians are being trained to maintain the equipment to ensure the system will provide safe water for many years.
Wells, Filters, and Water Kiosks
Sometimes, we work with our partners to design a custom water project for a specific village. For example, we drilled a well in Jinja, Uganda, that provides clean water to an orphanage. We built a clean water kiosk at a remote village in Rwanda. We are exploring many other clean water technologies, including small filtration systems that purify water for people in urban areas.