By Rick Spurlock
A long standing partner with Project Medishare for Haiti, Inc., Emory Medishare returned from their medical trip in Haiti this past April to accomplish several goals. One of these goals was to make a step forward towards implementation of the Emory Medishare Safe Water Project.
The project began when Dr. Danielle Jones, Emory Internal Medicine Attending, and I saw a need for safe water in an area called Baille Touribe. Baille Touribe has some of the highest rates of diarrheal illness in the Haiti’s Central Plateau. We met with the Center for Disease Control (CDC) water experts who recommended the “Safe Water System” project.
The Safe Water System method is to manufacture sodium hypochlorite to be put into drinking water at a very low concentration. The solution kills most harmful organisms that cause disease within five minutes. This solution will then be sold at a very low cost to families in the various areas of Haiti where we plan to implement the project. The CDC has been using this method for years and found great success with it in rural areas.
The plan is to construct a small building where the solution will be produced and then sold for a very low price to 2,000 families in the Baille Touribe district and surrounding areas. After five years and once 2,000 families are participating in the program, the the Safe Water System becomes self sustainable. This proven program not only gives access to clean water and lowers rates of disease, but the program also creates jobs helping create a stronger economic situation.
The Safe Water System project’s cost is $30,000 over five years. Fixed costs include a generator for producing the solution, the building, the training of personnel, and a drill. The variable costs are the buckets, spigots, bottles, bottle labels and shipping. The buckets are the most expensive for the program costing $4.50 per bucket. Some of the families will bring their own 5 gallon bucket but many will not have an extra to spare.
We plan implementation to begin this summer once our Haitian architect designs and gives us a cost for the water building. Big thanks to the CDC, Deep Springs International and of course Project Medishare for their support and guidance.
If you would like to make a donation to this project please click here to contribute to this project on our secure donation website. We need to raise $30,000! Donations are tax deductible as Project Medishare is a 501c3.
To learn more about the CDC’s Safe Water System Project click here.
* Rick Spurlock is the co-founder of Emory Medishare and an ER physician.