Sur’Eau, a sodium hypochlorite solution (dilute bleach) that disinfects water making it safe for human consumption, is a product that has greatly helped improve access to clean water and helped in the fight against waterborne diseases.
It is a tried and tested innovation that beneficiaries have found to be effective in improving hygiene and health.
Before having access to Sur’Eau, a water disinfectant product from Society for Family Health (SFH) organisation, diseases such as diarrhea, typhoid and worms had become usual illnesses for Mukarutwaza and her family.
They didn’t have access to clean water and at times the children would, out of ignorance, consume and use contaminated water consequently ending up with waterborne diseases.
Christine Mukarutwaza, a mother of six and resident of Busanza, Kanombe is one of the ardent users of Sur’Eau because it has positively contributed to the good health of her family.
Mukarutwaza and her family no longer complain of itchy skin or have to spend on hospital bills because of waterborne diseases.
“Not only have we benefitted from this water disinfectant health-wise but also financially. It has helped us cut costs. Previously, we used to buy a lot of charcoal to boil water, but with Sur’Eau, we are assured of safe and clean water,” she said.
The family has been using the disinfectant for the last four years and, according to Mukarutwaza, Sur’Eau is a product every family needs to have to be assured of clean and safe water.
She adds that this also saves time as one does not have to take a lot of time boiling water or filtering it.
Maria Mukashema, who always comes to Mukarutwaza’s home for drinking water, says unlike her neighbor, she can’t afford buying Sur’Eau although she wishes she could.
She called upon the responsible authorities to help impoverished people have access to this water purifier at a cheaper price or even for free for some can’t afford it at all yet they need it.
“If we had access to such a product, we wouldn’t be destroying trees getting firewood to boil water. This would also save the environment since we would use less firewood only for cooking food,” she said.
Manasseh Gihana Wandera, the executive director of SFH, said one of SFH’s missions is to ensure that Rwandans have access to safe water.
He said sometimes there is availability of water, but no accessibility to clean and safe water.
“Sur’Eau is significantly contributing to the reduction of waterborne diseases among other strategies in place. We have made this product available in various outlets across all the districts in the country because of its impact. Much as it is contributing to good health, this product saves money, time, energy and the environment since one doesn’t need to boil the water,” he said.
Gihana added that, currently, the purifier is being supplied in refugee camps where there is a higher risk of infection from waterborne diseases.
He called upon the stakeholders who share a vision of seeing Rwandan’s live healthy through having access to safe water, to promote the product.
To use Sur’Eau, you pour a lid-ful of the purifier into a 20-litre jerrycan and wait for it to completely dissolve for at least 20 minutes. The water is then purified and ready to drink.
Sur’Eau is available in shops in most neighborhoods at Rwf200 or Rwf300.
SFH, an affiliate of Population Services International, is a non-profit organisation that markets social health in the country with a mission of significantly improve the health of poor and vulnerable people through social marketing of health products, services and behaviour. SFH provides life-saving products, clinical services and social and behavior change communications that empower Rwanda’s most vulnerable populations to lead healthier lives.