Posted on Jul 26, 2013
Burlington Sunrise Rotarian Ken Puzey has launched the Kenya Safe Water Project with the goal to provide people in Kisumu, Kenya with a sustainable method for creating safe drinking water –helping to create a healthier life!
(Scroll down for more...)Kenya Water Containers People Animals
1.1 billion people around the globe do not have access to safe drinking water. This lack of access results in a large disease burden with 1.7 billion cases of diarrhea annually. Diarrhea kills 1.6 million people annually (90% are children under age 5), 146 million trachoma cases threatened with blindness, 6 million trachoma cases with visual impairment, 133 million people suffer from high intensity helminth (parasitic worm) infections, 1.5 million cases of hepatitis A annually and the loss of 117 million disability adjusted life years annually.
Ken Puzey witnessed the horrors of unclean drinking water first hand during his April 2013 trip to Haiti, volunteering for a medical clinic in Port-au-Prince. Prior to his arrival 5,000 people had died from a cholera outbreak. In the medical clinic virtually every individual was infected with water-borne parasites. In particular, there were two girls around eight years old that had parasitic worms in their legs literally eating their flesh. Ken could hear one of the girls screaming and crying in the next room as the worms were painfully removed from her legs. The next day another girl was more stoic, but the tears streamed down her face like a river from the pain as the worms were painstakingly removed inch by inch.
Ken and volunteer team treated other parasitic infections with Ivermectin, which protects patients for two weeks but another clinic was not scheduled for another ten months. Therefore, many patients likely will be re-infected by unsafe drinking water. A large percentage of children had scabies mite infections and they were treated with sulfa powder. Ken instructed patients to disinfect bedding and clothing to avoid re-infestation. Ken knew that scratching scabies mites often causes secondary bacterial infection. However, Ken learned in Haiti that strep is a common secondary infection organism. A strep infection can easily spread to the kidney shutting it down, which leads to a slow and painful death as toxins build up in the blood. Ken also knew the larvae can be killed with boiling water. Unfortunately, people are too poor to afford fuel to boil water. Therefore, many of the patients we treated were likely re-infected shortly after coming in contact with the larvae in their bedding and clothing.
"I am still haunted by the screams of a little girl with flesh eating parasitic worms and the images of others suffering from infections from unsafe drinking water"
Just this year, Kenya experienced a series of floods from March to early June which left 141,994 persons displaced and caused 96 deaths and 21 injuries. The flood also destroyed 13,895 acres of crops and killed a large number of livestock, which in turn, threatened food security in the area. In addition, this flooding severely degraded water safety by flooding latrines. The major causes of death around Lake Victoria, a massive lake at Kenya's western frontier, are water borne diseases such as typhoid, amoebiasis, cholera, and dysentery. The under age 5 mortality rate in Kisumu is 220 per 1000 live births (22%). In seeing the horrors and the situation in Haiti, and knowing of the Kenya water crisis, Kenneth was determined to come up with a sustainable solution to boiling water so people could have access to safe drinking water, as well as have a means of sanitizing clothing and bedding – all in an effort to eliminate this needless human suffering, not only in Kisumu, Kenya, but in other locations around the globe.


The Burlington Sunrise Rotary is proud of Ken Puzey's humanitarian work and is eager to help.  You can help too:  please CLICK HERE TO DONATE and learn more.