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.