Health team sets off to Usalama

“Water and Sanitation is one of the primary drivers of public health. I often refer to it as “Health 101”, which means that once we can secure access to clean water and to adequate sanitation facilities for all people, irrespective of the difference in their living conditions, a huge battle against all kinds of diseases will be won.” 

-Dr. Lee Jong-Wook, Director-General, World Health Organization

Securing sustainable access to clean water is one moment when the often separate worlds of engineering and public health collide; and in doing so, it can single-handedly prevent millions of illnesses and deaths that occur worldwide due to waterborne diseases.

This is an exciting time for the Usalama Water Project as both the health team and engineering team will be traveling to Usalama, Kenya over the next two months. First, the health team will embark on a two-week trip to Usalama in order to implement their household questionnaire.  Judy Hodge, Katie-Sue Derejko, and Erika Houghtaling will spend these two weeks interviewing approximately 200 households on the water, sanitation, hygiene, and health situation in their community. The goal of the questionnaire is to evaluate Usalama’s water system and to identify additional sanitation and hygiene barriers that cause diseases, preventable diseases that can often be fatal, especially for young children.

The data from the questionnaire will also be used as a tool to build capacity for the community. This data, on the water and health situation in Usalama, will be provided to the Usalama Water Board and Usalama Health Committee. With the data in hand, the committees can effectively and efficiently apply to Kenya’s federal grants pertaining to health and development, thus, giving the community themselves the ability and power to improve their health and quality of life.

Following the return of the health team, the engineering team will travel to Usalama to bring the water system to life.


-Erika Houghtaling

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