Rahmah is a qualified midwife based in Katimpun village in Central Kalimantan in Borneo. She serves all the local villages not only in her capacity as a midwife but also as a nurse and a paramedic. It is hard to believe that until now she has not had the most basic instrument of her trade: Sonic Aid. Sonic Aid is a miniature ultrasound used by all midwives to listen to a baby’s heartbeat during pregnancy in order to assess the baby’s health and growth and detect any imminent risks. In December 2017 MEDyARTE Foundation purchased a Sonic Aid for Rahmah.
Water Filter Project
Villages along the rivers of the Kalimantan region in Borneo have a worryingly high incidence of diarrhoea due to poor sanitation and a lack of clean water. It is accepted practice for villagers to defecate directly into the river and drinking water is then taken from the river and ingested without further treatment. There is limited piped water available. This situation is mirrored in all villages along the river therefore water contamination is happening at multiple points along the river course. Any meaningful and lasting improvements to sanitation would therefore need to be introduced simultaneously and uniformly in all river-side villages and would ideally need to include toilets with no outflow directly into the river, hand washing facilities and piped water to every household.
This remains a long term aim, however in the meantime we propose that the effective treatment of water at household level in combination with hand washing may reduce the incidence of diarrhoeal illness in a short timeframe. Recent advances in technology have produced water filters which can effectively remove all particles in excess of 0.4 micron, including diarrhoea-inducing bacteria. Consequently they have been shown to cause a significant reduction in the incidence of diarrhoeal illnesses. These filters also remove heavy metals which are a significant additional contaminant in Kalimantan where many local people engage in gold mining by sieving soil from the riverbanks or river bottom.
Location – village of Katimpun in Central Kalimantan, Borneo
Population – 401
Initially baseline data regarding incidence and prevalence of diarrhoea in the village of Katimpun will be collected once a week for three months.
Thereafter in addition to a water filter, each household will be given health education including good hand hygiene techniques and instruction in how to use the water filter. This will be carried out by the distributor of the water filters and the local midwife who also serves in the community as a nurse. There will also be a group of 5 young volunteers in the village who will help with long term supervision of filter use, identifying and addressing any ongoing educational needs and offering general support as needed.
Provision by MEDyARTE charity of water filters (one filter per household – each filter is sufficient for a family of five, plus filters for a local school)
3-6 months later data collection regarding incidence and prevalence of diarrhoeal illness will be done as before – every week for three months. In addition, families will be asked whether they are using the water filters every day as instructed.
We hope to show that the provision of water filters to individual households supported by practical operational and hygiene education can significantly reduce the incidence of diarrhoeal illnesses in this community.
If data analysis supports this assumption then further fund raising would be organised with the aim of providing water filters for villages further up the river. Water filters cost approximately 20US $ per household and last 3 years if looked after properly. Thereafter a replacement filtration candle costs 7 US $ and lasts for an additional 3 years. Our hope is that once the villagers appreciate and realise the benefits of the filters and their use becomes established and automatic, they will continue using them and buying replacement candles as appropriate every 3 years without further support of the charity as this seems a realistic and affordable cost in comparison to the cost of boiling water.