My WATSAN life in Chad: Month 4

Alex has been fighting hepatitis E in Chad. Now it's time to let other organisations respond to the outbreak...

Earlier this month MSF announced all WATSAN activities would be reduced to 50% by the end of February and the project would finish at the end of April.  In the lead up, and to ensure the water sanitation work continues, MSF has been calling on all humanitarian and development agencies in Chad to increase their efforts in responding to the hepatitis E outbreak in Am Timan.

Alexandrar Chen and Dr. Abdoulaye stand by a van laughing

Dr. Abdoulaye (WHO) and I sharing information about the Hepatitis E epidemic in Am Timan

Further highlighting the urgency, this month, the MOH (Ministry of Health) publicly declared a hepatitis E outbreak in Am Timan. We have been meeting with several UN agencies to explain our surveying activities to find acute jaundice syndrome patients in the community and our bucket chlorination activities. In addition, we have been working together to improve our existing programs and to find other actors who can continue chlorination activities.

Two men in market stall

Shopping for construction materials to install the chlorine dosing pump at Maison Fleuve

Since the beginning of the project, MSF has been providing support to the STE (Societe Tchadienne des Eaux) to chlorinate the two water towers that supply the city with around 60% of its water; about 6,000,000L per week. At the Taradona water tower, MSF worked with STE to empty and clean the 500m3 tower prior to starting chlorination.  I got the chance to climb up the rickety metal ladder in my flimsy flip flops to take a look at the condition inside the reservoir. 

Taradona water tower

Taradona water tower which supplies the North end of Am Timan with chlorinated water

Man looking inside water tower

Lex (Tech Log) and I scoping out the inside of the 500m3 Taradona water tower prior to cleaning

Meanwhile, the temporary jetted wells have been operating since the end of November and are now producing less and less each day. Both wells produce 150,000L/week and support about 400 users/day, with the nearest adjacent water point at 900m away. MSF has been advocating for other agencies to construct a permanent wellbore in the neighborhood of Ganatir where water sources are scarce. 

People looking at jetted well site

Andrea (Nurse), Larrisa (Epi) and Al-Hissein (Watsan Supervsior) at the temporary jetted well site in the wadis

Alexandra Chen leaving Safari base work compound

Jan (Watsan Co) and I leaving Safari Base (work compound) to walk home for lunch

My Non-WATSAN life in Chad: Month 4

This month, Andrea and I attended the wedding of a colleague wearing matching dresses he had made for us. We helped prepare several traditional Chadian dishes, although with less grace, and then stuffed our faces with our hard work. Andrea is an MSF first timer from Canada (we actually live 3 hours from each other which is close in Canada terms) and we attended the same University without even knowing it! Over the past few months, we have become very close by talking about the Canadian Rockies and wine, and going on weekly camel BBQ dates. 

Group of people sitting around at a wedding in Chad

Abdelkhadir (Watsan Supervisor and groom) in between Andrea (Nurse) and I, and surrounded by MSF colleagues

Helping prepare food for a Chadian wedding – grinding up onions and beef

Helping prepare food for a Chadian wedding – grinding up onions and beef

Two women cook onions and shredded beef

Andrea (Nurse) and Amal (Watsan Supervisor) cooking onions and shredded beef

Tradition Chadian food

Tradition Chadian food