SFH guarantees access to safe water in Bugesera

At home in Mayange Sector, Bugesera District in Eastern Province, Anne Mukaruzima, a mother of four, stares the roof with a blank expression. Her chin is cupped in  hands for a long time, before she suddenly delves into an account of her troubled past.
Mukaruzima purifies her family drinking water with Sur’Eau. The says diarrhoea and dysentry were common in the family before SFH extended safe drinking water campaign in Mayange ....
Mukaruzima purifies her family drinking water with Sur’Eau. The says diarrhoea and dysentry were common in the family before SFH extended safe drinking water campaign in Mayange ....

At home in Mayange Sector, Bugesera District in Eastern Province, Anne Mukaruzima, a mother of four, stares the roof with a blank expression. Her chin is cupped in  hands for a long time, before she suddenly delves into an account of her troubled past.

“Diarrhea was on the verge of wiping out my family. Everyone of us was  frequently getting a running stomach, and sometimes it became difficult to nurse my children, because I was also suffering a similar fate,” Mukaruzima says.

As if that was not bad enough, Mukaruzima adds that the disease alternated with scabies.

“This disease hit any body part, and scratching oneself unconsciously is what usually followed, causing unnecessary embarrassment  sometimes.”

She says abject poverty  also set in because she was increasingly losing ability to engage in farming. And even her little savings got drained by endless hospital bills.

For a long time in other words, agony became a loyal companion. And for once she got convinced that her family  had been bewitched.

SFH intervenes

It was not until June this year, during  an awareness campaign organised by a community-based organisation (a co-operative  called   Inkubito-mu-bahizi) supported by Society For Family Health (SFH) Rwanda, that Mukaruzima learnt that using ‘unclean’ water could be the cause of her health woes.

She then acquired 150 millilitres of Sur’Eau water disinfectant  bottle, they offered.

“After about three days  of using water purified with this liquid (Sur’Eau), these infections started disappearing,” she says with visible relief.

Mukaruzima reveals that because of SFH’s efforts   through community-based  organisations, she was motivated to  join  Inkubito-mu-bahizi, which now reaches out to more than 350 homes in Bugesera District every month.

Mukaruzima’s only complaint, however, is that Sur’Eau  some times runs out of stock because of the overwhelming demand

She says SFH should boost supply.

According to Martin Nkundumugaba, the SFH central region team leader (which also covers Bugesera, Gicumbi and Kamonyi), a 150mls Sur’Eau bottle sold at Rwf300 can be used to purify up to 1,000 litres of water.

Nkundumugaba said SFH has trained more than 1,140 community health workers in safe water-related skills which they later transferred to residents.

“We use various sensitisation methods such as mobile cinema services, all with an aim of equipping residents with skills related to water treatment, safe storage, among others,” Nkundumugaba said.

According to Francis Karambizi, the director of Health in Bugesera District, the use of Sur’Eau  has supplemented the traditional way of disinfecting water; which is boiling. And more people are taking on its use (Sur’Eau’s) because its not only time saving  but also spares the money that should have been spent on fire wood.

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