PRT combats water-borne illness in Zabul

Release No: UNRELEASED Jan. 1, 2009 PRINT | E-MAIL

Press Release

United States Forces-Afghanistan

December 30, 2008

Release Number 20083012-03

PRT combats water-borne illness in Zabul

KABUL, Afghanistan - Doctors and medics with the Zabul Provincial

Reconstruction Team are teaching medical providers in Shajoy to purify

the province’s water and reduce water-borne illnesses.

Five local medical providers learned how to run, clean and sustain a new

water purification machine provided by the PRT. The team’s goal is to

provide the doctors with the means to enable people in Zabul to purify

their own water.

The purification machine, a Sodium Hypochlorite Generator, transforms

salt and water into a solution that purifies non-potable water. The

machine generates the solution in about eight hours from 10 pounds of

salt and 40 gallons of water, taken from a well or river.

The method is simple and effective. One tablespoon of solution purifies

four gallons of water. The solution kills 99.9 percent of the bacteria

that cause diarrhea and death.

Providers at the hospital in Shajoy will use the machine to make the

solution and distribute it to local families to purify their drinking


More than half of all illnesses in Zabul are diarrhea related. Purified

water should reduce that rate to 25 percent.

"This is a very sustainable machine," said Air Force Capt. (Dr.) Bill

Errico, with the Zabul PRT. "This process is easy, relatively

inexpensive and something that each Afghan household can do to keep

their family healthy."

The PRT delivered the first purification machine to the hospital in

Shajoy. The team also has plans to provide three more machines to other

locations in Zabul.