I’m extremely excited to share news of two key strategic partners who will be working with Life Force Kiosks… the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI). The CDC and KEMRI will both be working with Life Force Kiosks to conduct baseline and ongoing water quality testing as well as several other important tests to ensure the effectiveness of our model. I could not be more pleased to be working with organizations that bring such a high level of expertise and credibility in the area of health impact effectiveness evaluation.
Along with baseline and periodic testing of water in Kibera to determine E. coli levels in water at the source and in homes, they’re helping with a few other very important tests. First and foremost, they’re helping us determine the optimal level of chlorine dosing. One of our core services is to add chlorine to the water people buy at the tap to help ensure it’s safe for drinking. There are already household chlorine products available in Kenya that people can use to purify their water. The instructions call for a dosage of 3 ml of chlorine per 20 liters of water. The biggest barrier keeping these products from achieving higher consumer adoption is that they make the water taste and smell kind of like… well… chlorine. However, testing performed by the CDC last year showed that the tap water already had some chlorine in it from when it’s treated at the initial water source before its piped into the slums. As such, it may be possible to add a smaller dose like 1 ml per 20 liters and still obtain a meaningful reduction in E. coli levels without noticeably impacting the taste and smell. That would be a huge breakthrough, as I’m not aware of any single product in Kenya that’s affordable to the poorest of the poor, convenient, effective, and doesn’t impact water taste. Of course we need to wait for the test results, but I’m excited about the possibility of introducing a truly new and improved product into the market.
The CDC and KEMRI will also conduct some testing to ensure the method we’re proposing for cleaning water storage containers is effective. The CDC also conducts detailed and ongoing disease monitoring and tracks cases of cholera, typhoid, and other waterborne disease. While it’s impossible to isolate the impact from our organization, in theory we should hopefully see some reduction in these diseases over time in the areas where we’re operating.
I’m very grateful to these two fantastic organizations for their help, and I look forward to working with them both.