SODIS and Tippy Taps
on Mangos, Monkeys and Maggie (Uganda), 08/Jul/2009 14:17, 34 days ago
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SODIS BOTTLES AND A TIPPY TAP IN OUR GARDENAfter last weeks excitement chasing chimps we have had a much quieter week. I have had chance to discuss the chronic care clinic with both local management and last night with officials from the ministry. We are still struggling to get a secure drug supply but at least for now have some ART. There seems to be little chance of the district finding a doctor to replace me but at least they seem to have found a clinical officer. He arrived to start work on July 1st but as there was no accommodation he went home. He has been back 3 times to try and move in but the hospital have not fund any where for him.At least he appears keen.The Miirya project is still progressing thanks to the support of people in the UK. Pamela has been very active moving out to the villages and encouraging volunteers. We held a meeting in each of the three parishes for volunteers and were pleasantly surprised by their continued enthusiasm. It is very humbling seeing people prepared to walk several kilometres in the sun just to hear us talk and give encouragement. It is difficult to pass people by on the road but we have a maximum of seven in a small toyota saloon. Moses our taxi driver is very accommodating but even he needs to change gear sometimes so only 3 in the front! The volunteers do get an allowance for travel to the meeting but most prefer to walk and keep the 2000 ush ( about 60p).Each meeting is different. Bigando is always our favourite because Miriam in charge of the health centre is so enthusiastic. She produced figures from the health centre showing that there had been a drop in malaria since we started distributing nets.That was great for us to see and great for the volunteers to understand that their work is yielding results.At Kigulya the volunteers are quieter and the support from the health centre is less but it was still a good meeting. At Isimba the health centre failed to send an observer but we did have a resident drunk who kept up a lively contribution until he realised that there was no free food.Although the main focus of the project has been on malaria prevention by using long term treated nets we have recently held workshops on sanitation and safe water. It was good to see volunteers enthusiastic about SODIS (solar disinfection of water). The idea had really impressed them in its simplicity and relevance. Most of the volunteers had stopped boiling their water and were using SODIS themselves and had taught people in the villages. The limiting factor seems to be availability of plastic bottles. In town you see bottles all over but in the villages they are in short supply. We are now organising collection of the bottles to recycle them in the villages. SODIS does seem an obvious intervention for Uganda with its abundant sunshine. Any reduction of fuel needed will be helpful as well. One of the best things at the Kigulya meeting was hearing Aida a 70 year old traditional birth attendant and volunteer explaining to the group about SODIS. Aida speaks only Runyoro but had grasped all the features of SODIS from the workshop and had been telling people in her village.We had also shown the volunteers how to make Tippy Taps to wash their hands. Many of them had constructed them at home and already held meetings to show villagers how to make them. Being a good role model is one of the important parts of being a Miirya volunteer.Of course not every thing is working perfectly in Miirya. We had a report that one of the volunteers who is also a TBA has been dissuading patients from attending the health centre for delivery. This is against government and the project policy. It was helpful to discuss this at a meeting and hear the volunteers condemn this action. They are supportive of the health centres but we need to make sure the health centres are supported to provide safe deliveries.