Every year, an estimated 2.2 million people die globally from preventable diseases caused by consuming unsafe water. AAH Kenya is leading a pilot project to test the effectiveness of a copper-coil device in reducing the bacterial load in household drinking water. AAH Kenya’s partner, the Institute of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine in India (I-AIM) patented the design, based on traditional Indian technology.
Every year, an estimated 2.2 million people die globally from preventable disease caused by consuming unsafe water. AAH Kenya is leading a pilot project to test the effectiveness of a copper-coil device in reducing the bacterial load in household drinking water. AAH Kenya’s partner, the Institute of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine in India (I-AIM) patented the design, based on traditional Indian technology.
The project is supported by a CAD 100,000 grant from Grand Challenges Canada (GCC), which is funded by the Government of Canada and is dedicated to supporting Bold Ideas with Big Impact in global health.
AAH has already successfully implemented one other GCC-funded project into a public health intervention on use of electronic medical records and is managing a third project that is piloting a self-administered test for cervical cancer.
In Kenya, AAH is carrying out research among 250 households in Kayole (the test site) and Kitengela (the control site), two urban low-income settlements in Kenya. I-AIM is carrying out complementary research in villages near Bangalore, India.
Communities living in both areas of Kenya have difficulties obtaining water for their daily needs due to low incomes and they often resort to using water from unreliable sources. Very few households can afford to raise Sh.30 (about 0.3 dollars), the amount needed to buy a 20-litre jerrican of water and which is often inadequate for the most essential uses such as cooking, washing and bathing.
Mama Abonyo, a mother of five from Kayole says, “Because of water scarcity, many people draw water from the local river, which is heavily polluted. Sometimes we treat it using a small tablet and then use the water for drinking and washing utensils. The tablets are expensive and not many people can afford them all the time. Sometimes we just use the water without treating it”
Despite the availability of these water purification tablets, their cost is inhibitive thereby putting them well out of reach of those who need them most. That is why the sustainable, cost-effective, point-of-use solution is so critical. The copper-coil device that will be field-tested does not require energy to function, lasts a lifetime and is easy to use in a low-income or rural household.
For AAH and its partner, this project is crucial in demonstrating at the field level that the copper-coil is safe, effective and acceptable to the communities. The outcome of the pilot phase can influence local governments to promote it, and is an important next step towards the GCC’s Phase 2 Transition-to-Scale Grant. Initial estimates suggest that it could cost as low as $3 per unit to manufacture.