Health for Haiti update: Clean water changes everything

Water source in Grande Saline.

Water source in Grande Saline.

By Professor Jennifer Musa

The World Health Organization estimates that hundreds of millions of people in the world do not have access to clean water, and that every year over a half million people die from diseases related to drinking dirty water.

Since March 2015, SUNY Broome’s Health for Haiti program has been providing clean drinking water for hundreds of families in Grande Saline, Haiti. This clean water effort has been a true collaboration between Health for Haiti and the community in Grande Saline.

SUNY Broome student Grace Muggeo works with a Pall engineer on a water filtration system in Grande Saline.

SUNY Broome student Grace Muggeo works with a Pall engineer on a water filtration system in Grande Saline.

For this community, the local river is the only source of water. The Health for Haiti water system filters the water from the local river, making it safe to drink. The system was donated by the Pall Corporation in Cortland, New York, and ongoing technical support is provided by their engineers (assisted by SUNY Broome students). Clean water means better health for the families living in this cholera-affected area.

Filtered water versus unfiltered water in Grande Saline

Filtered water versus unfiltered water in Grande Saline

Last week, more than 14,400 gallons of safe drinking water were distributed to families in the community. Health for Haiti donations help to provide a salary for the local operators who run the system each day and to purchase gas to power the filtration system. Clean water is fundamental to good health. Access to clean water has changed and saved lives.

This year, we hope to build on this success and change the system, which currently relies on gas, to solar power. The system will be less expensive and more efficient if the community does not have to purchase gas and rely on generators. Gas is expensive and hard to obtain, but sunshine is free and abundant.

Residents of Grande Saline carrying water

Residents of Grande Saline carrying water

Thank you for your past support of our clean water project. Please consider a donation to help purchase solar panels and batteries so that we can make this system more sustainable for the community. Click here from more information on our “Solar for Water” initiative.