Photo Story: Preventing Cholera in D.R. Congo
Each year, thousands of children get sick with waterborne diseases like cholera, which can be fatal if left untreated. Cholera is also linked to malnutrition—waterborne diseases weaken children’s immune systems and prevent them from retaining nutrients, so a child suffering from cholera is at greater risk of becoming malnourished.
At Action Against Hunger, we fight malnutrition by combating the waterborne diseases that contribute to it. Our teams in South Kivu Province, Democratic Republic of Congo, are working hard to prevent cholera by providing communities with safe and effective water solutions, including water chlorination, hygiene education, and water point rehabilitation.
In honor of World Water Day on March 22nd, we’re sharing images from noted photojournalist Jana Asenbrennerova, who captured our teams in South Kivu Province in action.
Above, a child collects water from Lake Kivu. The water from the lake is contaminated and children run the risk of contracting cholera by drinking it.
One of the quickest ways to prevent cholera at the source is chlorination. Adding a few drops of chlorine makes water from the lake immediately safe to drink.
One of our volunteers gathers water from Lake Kivu for testing and chlorination. Our volunteers offer free chlorine treatment to people who come to collect water from the lake.
In addition to the risk of waterborne diseases, women and children who collect water must also face long and sometimes hazardous journeys to and from Lake Kivu. Jerry cans, when full, can weigh up to 40 pounds.
Another important component of our cholera prevention work is community education. Here, one of our team members talks to mothers and children about how to prevent cholera, including drinking water from safe sources and practicing good hygiene habits.
To prevent the spread of cholera within a community, the house of a person who's contracted the illness is disinfected with chlorinated water. Here, one of our team members prepares the solution he will use to disinfect the house behind him.
A crucial part of preventing waterborne diseases is improving access to clean water. In addition to chlorination and education, our teams work hard to build and rehabilitate clean water points in communities in South Kivu Province. Having reliable water sources close to home also cuts down on time spent collecting water from unsafe sources.
Above, children gather around a rehabilitated water point in Mukwidja villge. With access to safe water, these children are far more likely to grow up healthy.
Clean water is the key to creating a healthier, brighter future for the children of South Kivu Province, D.R. Congo, and children all over the world. With your support, we can bring clean water to communities like this one.