Clean Water & Hepatitis Prevention in Cambodia
Submitted by KIDS, posted by Jennifer Laidlaw, Blog Coordinator
July 28 is World Hepatitis Day – dedicated to raising global awareness of Hepatitis B and C and encourage prevention, diagnosis and treatment. While the awareness day is focused on viral Hepatitis, we thought we would use it as an opportunity to look at one of our projects dedicated to providing clean drinking water and reducing contractions of a third type of Hepatitis - Hepatitis A - and other water-borne illnesses.
Cambodia water project
In 2013, Compassionate Eye Foundation (CEF) partnered with Kids International Development Society (K.I.D.S.) to bring clean drinking water to hundreds of children and their families in rural Cambodia.
Fifty per cent of rural Cambodia relies on unprotected ponds, rivers and hand-dug wells for their drinking water and there is no access to clean drinking water. Water becomes much more difficult to find during the dry season, and it also becomes more dangerous to drink.
The mortality rate is 83 per 1000, with 56 per cent of post-neonatal deaths due to unhealthy water. Seventy-five per cent of rural Cambodians do not have toilets and there is a high prevalence of Hepatitis A and other water born diseases in Cambodia.
Clean water systems
Clean water is desperately needed in most of rural Cambodia and thanks to Compassionate Eye Foundation, Vancouver K.I.D.S. was able to build a solar-powered water filtration system for a very poor rural elementary school. In this area, the children walk or ride their bikes miles to get to school along very dry, dusty roads. Being able to arrive at school and have a drink of clean water is not only greatly appreciated but vital.
The water system cleans the water through cartridge and sand filters and then an ultra violet light system run by solar panels. As well as providing clean water, the solar panels also bring light to the schools in the evening so the schools can run literacy classes for adults and extra classes for the children. Now children can freely drink clean water during their school day, take some bottles home, and families are also permitted to access the well during the school day for drinking water.
Water – the greatest gift
For so many of us in the western world, clean water is taken for granted; however, for the people living in Cambodia it is one of the greatest gifts they can receive. To celebrate the water tower, the villagers came out in the hundreds to give thanks to Compassionate Eye Foundation and KIDS for improving their lives and the lives of their children.