BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan (December 30, 2008) – Doctors and medics with the Zabul Provincial Reconstruction team are teaching medical providers in Shajoy to operate a water purification machine to cut back on water-borne illnesses.
Five local medical providers learned how to run, clean and sustain the water purification machine. The goal is to provide the doctors with the skills to teach the people of Zabul to purify their own water.
The purification machine is a hypo-chlorite generator that transforms salt water into a purification solution. The process takes about eight hours to complete. Around 40 gallons of water is taken from a well or river and 10 pounds of salt is added; from that the machine produces a solution that is mixed into non-potable water to produce drinking water.
This solution is made by the hospitals who will then distribute it to the local families to purify non-potable water.
For each tablespoon of solution, four gallons of water can be purified for drinking. The purification solution kills 99.9 percent of the bacteria that cause diarrhea and death. In Zabul, more than 50 percent of illness comes from diarrhea, purified water should reduce that to 25 percent.
“This is a very sustainable machine,” said Air Force Capt. (Dr.) Bill Errico, with the Zabul PRT. “This process is easy, relatively inexpensive and something that each Afghan household can do to keep their family healthy.”
The first of these machines was delivered to the hospital in Shajoy, and plans are in the works to provide three more machines throughout Zabul.