Xavier (not real names), 40, a resident of Shyogwe sector, Muhanga district and her family of four, became victims of stomach pain , strange fever and diarrhea.
“Your stomach would start grumbling any time regardless of whether you were in public.” she says. They kept visiting the hospital over and over for treatment, and this became expensive ,since they weren’t covered by medical insurance then.
When this persisted, she went and consulted a local medicine man ,in fear that her family had “annoyed the gods”. “Even after doing that time after time, the situationdidn’t improve at all.” It wasn’t until she heard from a neighbor that their health problem could be a result of using unclean water and,advised them to start boiling it so as to kill the germs.Something they put in practice, shortly after. “These ailments disappeared after days of taking boiled water, the advice was heaven sent, and we were deeply thankful.”
However, another challenge showed up, boiling water all the time became impractical, since she had to find time to attend to her crop and bee keeping farm too.
She didn’t have the money to employ casual labourers, her children were too young to help in the farm, and her husband was estranged from home. “I found it difficult to juggle spending 9 hours in the farm, and getting back home to do certain house chores like boiling water.” Beisdes, besides doing so all the time was expensive, since firewood was scarce and therefore costly. It’s again her same neighbor who brought the news about a new water treatment product called Sur’Eau. A150mls Sur’Eau bottle sold at Rwf 300 can be used to disinfect 1000 water litres. SFH distributes over 100,000 units of Sur’ Eau annually across the country.
It wasn’t long before she acquired it, and after a few days of using,all the previous problems came to rest, and life took a smooth turn.
According to Bonaventure Rutagengwa ,an SFH Regular Programme Co-ordinator for the Southern Province, they are involved in sensitizing residents about safe water through platforms like Mobile Cinema services and sound systems. He adds that in May this year, over 45 community Health workers in Muhanga district alone were equipped with Safe water related skills.
“People in rural areas are responding to our sensitization campaigns by using more of our water treatment products, but some in Muhanga town are reluctant, having a perception that tap water is always safe.”he says. He adds that Pur, is another safe water product marketed in the distr