Hepatitis E Emergency Response Project Chlorination Program
When I was first asked to join this project about a month ago, there were just over 40 suspected Hepatitis E cases reported in the city of Am Timan. As of this past week, that number has jumped to 182 suspected cases (patients with acute jaundice). 53% of these people are men and 47% women.
My WATSAN Life: Week 4
We started off the week with the re-evaluation of water points as part of our chlorination program. Initially we had proposed chlorinating 120 water points, however after speaking with the medical team, we decided to stay within the same boundary limits so that both of our projects are within the same area. This eliminated about 50 water points from both the surrounding villages and on the south side of the river, which also has limited access. This shift in our water and sanitation (WATSAN) direction meant that we had to assign new water points to not only some of the chlorinators, but also the supervisors. This was not an easy task considering we had to drive each member of national staff to their respective new water point location with only two vehicles!
The map above shows, in blue, the operational water points and, in red, the non-operational water points. The concentrated areas in red illustrate households of Hepatitis E cases, with the highest amount of cases (33) in the Quartier Taradona.
We received over a thousand CVs for the remainder of our chlorinator and hygiene promoter positions! All week we’ve been working diligently to find our final recruitment groups, who arrived for interviews on Saturday and are starting training next Monday.
We now have national staff chlorinating 54 water points within Am Timan. Chlorine solution is made in the morning and then distributed in smaller containers to each of the chlorinators at each of the water points. The solutions lasts approximately five days, however we have noticed that when the chlorine solution is left out in the sun, the heat will cause the chlorine to evaporate and the solution loses its effectiveness.
We test the FRC (Free Residual Chlorine) at the water points to determine if the amount of chlorine solution added to the water is sufficient to kill the Hepatitis E virus.
The chlorine solution is syringed into various water containers, including bowls, jerry cans and buckets. The newly chlorinated water then needs 30 minutes to settle prior to use. At each water point, each chlorinator records the number of water containers chlorinated with respect to the volume, and the number of people who refuse to have their water chlorinated.
The camels have started to arrive in Am Timan! The temperature has also begun to drop significantly during the evenings with it still reaching 40 C during the day, but 16 C at night.
I was a bit sad today because I lost my personal cellphone :-( Unfortunately, that means no more pictures for my blog. Maybe I’ll enlist the help of my local colleagues to help me find a camera phone in the local market or I’ll look in capital during my R&R at the end of the month.