In Naivasha, high levels of fluoride in drinking water has become the cause of many health related complications. Long exposure to fluoride can cause dental fluorosis, dark mottling of the enamel, or skeletal fluorosis, bone deformity and joint, nerve and spinal damage. As fluoride originates from the boreholes in which water is drawn from, it is difficult to access decontaminated water.
A child suffering from dental fluorosis.
In working with the Naivasha Water, Sewerage & Sanitation Company (Naivawass), the Rift Valley Services Board (RVWSB), the Water User Association (WUA), as well as small scale local service providers under Naivawass, ACF has been working to bring defluoridated water to the areas of Karagita and Kamere in Naivasha.
ACF has been involved with a series of implementations to decrease the number of people negatively affected by high fluoride concentrations in the drinking water. These include:
- The installation of 22 fluoride removal filters serving Kamere and Karagita.
- Monitoring the water quality of defluoridated water sold by the kiosks. 15 kiosks constructed under the program were tested and met the WHO recommended maximum level of 1.5 mg/l apart from one kiosk which was as 2.0 mg/l. Longer term operators will be required under their Sub-Agency Agreements to monitor and maintain these low levels.
- Informational materials on the impacts of high levels of fluoride and the benefits of drinking defluoridated water have been printed and distributed by CHWs to kiosks and households. Since then, sales records and interviews with kiosk operators have indicated that sales of defluoridated water has increased from 177m3 in December 2011 to 284m3 in February 2012, a 60% increase.
Along with these implementations, ACF has also placed;
- A private sector operator was put in place and received training in the use of an aquatest to help monitor both the chemical and bacteriological quality of the water sold as kiosks.
- Kiosk operators have been educated about defluoridation technology so that they can raise awareness, respond to questions from costumers and encourage them to consume defluoridated water.
- ACF has continued to support the local Public Health Department by training 20 community health workers(CHWs) on raising awareness about the effects of fluoride in the water & promoting hand washing.
Not only has ACF addressed the traditional issues of sanitation and clean water, but created a model for providing fluoride free water that is not only feasible but accessible. In doing so, ACF is reducing the damage to the community caused by high fluoride concentrations in drinking water.