Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Our Filter Program: Bringing Clean Water Into Homes
Written by Tatiana Petrovick, Medical Program Coordinator
On Wednesday, Juana walked into the Charlie Gomez Medical Clinic. She was very worried about her 6-year-old child, Erol, who had been sick for two days. The child was listless and quiet, his eyes and skin both a sickly yellow. As soon as he saw Juana and her child, Dr. Gletsu, a volunteer doctor visiting from Canada, knew something was wrong. The child was clearly dehydrated and his health was deteriorating quickly.
Thankfully, Juana had come in just in time and Dr. Gletsu was able to send the family for laboratory tests and make a treatment plan. However, just before Juana left, Dr. Gletsu had a hunch.
“How do you drink your water?” he asked her.
“We drink it out of the tap,” Juana answered.
“Do you boil it?”
This was what Dr. Gletsu feared that he would hear. Over 80% of the tap water throughout Guatemala is contaminated with bacteria, parasites, and viruses that can cause a number of health problems. Boiling water uses expensive firewood and valuable time. Gastrointestinal distress can become so mundane that many families do not realize the source of the problem.
In children like Erol, a parasitic infection can result in severe illness, malnutrition due to loss of nutrients, and dehydration. These problems, while dangerous in adults, can be deadly for young children and infants.
Worldwide, an estimated 1,800 children die every day from diarrheal diseases associated with lack of access to water, sanitation, and hygiene. In Guatemala, diarrheal diseases are one of the leading cause of death for children under five. This disproportionately affects families living in rural areas.
Thankfully, Mayan Families offers a solution to this problem. We offer families Sawyer water filters through our Family Aid Department, which remove bacteria and other microbes from contaminated water and make it safe to drink. These filters are easy to use and can deliver clean water for up to 10 years. Thanks to this important preventative health measure, we have helped thousands of families avoid infection and enjoy the simple pleasure of drinking clean water.
Photo by Brendan James
Before Juana left the Mayan Families office, her information had already been passed to the Family Aid Department. Within 10 minutes, Juana’s family had been assigned a water filter out of general funds. She was able to leave our offices knowing that her child would lead a much safer, healthier life thanks to her new filter!
The Charlie Gomez Medical Clinic is focused on preventative health and works to connect underserved families with the resources they need to lead a healthier, more productive life. Please consider helping us bring badly needed care to children like Erol and donate to the Charlie Gomez Medical Clinic today!