In 2003 DelAgua Health along with the University of Colorado and the Rwanda Ministry of Health embarked on an ambitious project to distribute water filters and fuel-efficient cooking stoves across the country. The program monitored the use of the water filters and cook stoves with the data being used in a health impact study conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Emory University. Between 2014 and 2016 the program reached nearly 2 million people with cookstoves and 500,000 with water filters in 7,500 villages. Nearly a thousand community health workers visited every household on a repeated basis to provide behaviour change messaging, training, and repairs.
In June 2019 the PLoS Med published the results. It was found that the water filters and portable biomass-burning cookstoves reduced the prevalence of reported diarrhea and acute respiratory infection in children under 5 years old by 29% and 25%, respectively. The results suggest that programmatic delivery of household water filters and improved cookstoves can provide a scalable interim solution for rural populations that lack access to safe drinking water and rely on traditional fires for cooking.
“Until now, there has been limited evidence of the effects when these products are delivered at scale,” said Evan Thomas, director of CU Boulder’s Mortenson Center for Global Engineering. “The study demonstrates the viability of bringing water filters and cookstoves to vulnerable households and will help inform future national initiatives.”
Unsafe drinking water and household air pollution are major causes of mortality around the world. An estimated 1.1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water, more than a third of whom rely primarily on open wells and untreated surface water that can be contaminated with human and animal feces.
Cooking indoors on traditional open-fire stoves with solid biomass fuels such as wood and charcoal has been linked with pneumonia, low birth weight and impaired development in children. Household air pollution is also associated with pulmonary and cardiovascular disease in adults. More than 80% of Rwandans rely on firewood as their primary fuel source.
“After neonatal disorders, pneumonia and diarrheal disease are the two leading killers of children under 5 years of age in Rwanda and much of sub-Saharan Africa,” said Professor Thomas Clasen of Emory University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who led the health impact study.
“The results of this randomized controlled trial provide strong evidence that effective interventions can be successfully delivered and embraced by a population at risk, even in remote rural settings.”
In the fall of 2014, over 101,000 households with nearly half a million people from the poorest economic quartile of Rwanda’s Western Province were selected to receive a Vestergaard Frandsen LifeStraw Family 2.0 table-top household water filter and an EcoZoom Dura high efficiency portable wood-burning cookstove together with community and household education and behavior change messaging. Each household was visited approximately every 4 months for a year following the distribution.
The program was financed and led by the social enterprise DelAgua Health (in partnership with the Rwanda Ministry of Health) and branded “Tubeho Neza,” which translates to “live well” in Kinyarwanda.
“DelAgua is delighted that the study has confirmed some of the health benefits of a well-designed large scale intervention as well as the acknowledged reduction in carbon emissions,” said DelAgua Chairman Neil McDougall. “Key to this success has been the ongoing education and support of Rwandan Community Health Workers (CHWs). Without CHW involvement, the intervention would not have demonstrated the same health and other benefits and as such their involvement is integral to the success of this and similar future projects,”
Overall, the results suggest that the program was effective in improving drinking water quality, and reducing risk of diarrhea and respiratory illness among children under 5, pointing the way toward an interim solution for healthier living while cleaner cooking solutions are developed and scaled to reach the poorest.
"The intent was to address the leading causes of illness and death in Rwanda, respiratory disease and diarrhea, especially among the lowest income households," said co-author Dr. Jean de Dieu Ngirabega, who was the director general of Clinical and Health Services in Rwanda Ministry of Health and later the head of the Institute of HIV/AIDS, Disease Prevention and Control in Rwanda Biomedical Center during the course of the program.
"The program's success speaks in part to the hard work of our Community Health Workers, who trained households on the use of these technologies over several years. I am pleased that these results show these positive health benefits can be achieved at scale. It is an opportunity for low-income countries to meet the targets set out in Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG3) for health."
“These results should have important policy implications in Rwanda and beyond. We see strong evidence that the intervention provides significant benefits that might continue to accrue if the program continues to be supported,” said Thomas, an associate professor in the College of Engineering and Applied Science who designed and managed this program for DelAgua from 2012 through 2016.
I documented the project capturing every aspect from issues that were set out to be solved, to the distribution days and community health workers visits. I photographed in a number of different regions and villages to show the extent of the program. I collaborated with DelAgua Health and the Rwandan Ministry of Health to present a powerful set of images which showed the work undertaken. The work has been exhibited around the world, formed a book and won several international photography competitions including being nominated for the Sony World Photography Awards.
See full report article at - University of Colorado
For more information about DelAgua Health go to - DelAgua
I was recently commissioned, in association with Project Pictures, to photograph the new Devlin Hotel in Dublin.
Pure Fitout are the craftsmen behind the project, and have sourced and manufactured nearly every feature of the hotel – from the 40 rooms, to the timber panelled rooftop restaurant and bar, art deco cinema, bronze-finished Americana Bar and Moroccan tiled bathrooms. The firm collaborated with renowned designers, O’Donnell O’Neill Design Associates, and Lawrence & Long Architects to complete the first new-build project for Press Up Entertainment Group.
My brief contained the usual long list of external and interior photographs but also requested that I capture the unique playful /edgy and stylish design of the space, from the “Feck Off – Don’t Disturb” signs to the art throughout. You see the Devlin Hotel is pitched as the coolest hotel in Dublin if not Ireland! It has everything great about Ireland, past present and future.
After reviewing the plans / drawings and some photos taken during construction, and discussing the key design elements I was afforded a two day shoot photographing late into the night and early on the second day. I requested a cherry picker to capture the feature roof top restaurant bar with the Dublin skyline.
The Devlin enjoys a wonderful location at the centre of Ranelagh, just south of the central city. It is in the heart of Ranelagh’s bustling main street with good connections to the city centre and airport. As such the hotel describes itself as a “community hub” and “more than a hotel” where you can stay as a resident or just enjoy the public spaces. Head in and relax in the café and bakery with space to meet friends or hot desk. Make use of the excellent concierge service to connect with a wide range of city offerings. Take in a movie at the 42-seat subterranean cinema, with its 1950s-style seating, leather trim, popcorn machine, food offerings and two daily screenings. Sample the spacious, light-filled Americana Bar on the ground floor for fresh, modern cocktails, and all-day bites. Or dine in the rooftop restaurant, “Layla’s”, with 180 degree views of Dublins skyline and a terrace for al fresco dining.
Don’t get me wrong this 40-room hotel is compact so there is no spa, fitness centre, garden or even parking. The hotel rooms have “Everything that you need and nothing that you don’t”. Standard rooms are on the modest side, but smart design – in particular cunning fenestration – removes any sense of lack of space. There's comfort and a decided sense of style. The techy mod cons (Nespresso machines, Smeg fridges, and Dyson hairdryers) also impress. A range of rooms are on offer: triples include bunk beds. Bathrooms are sleek and high quality, with rainforest showers and Moroccan tiles.
The Devlin ticks all the boxes, with excellent fittings and finishes. There are five specialist timbers featuring throughout the hotel, including the intricate Iroko panelling of the Americana Bar, pitch pine ceilings in Layla’s restaurant and walnut burl to the free standing case goods throughout the hotel’s interior.
Over 160 pieces of original paintings and prints hang on the walls, including work by Dorothy Cross, Cian McLoughlin and Eva Rothschild, as well as emerging artists like Alan Butler, Leah Hewson and Eve O’Callaghan. A bespoke Tracey Emin neon piece hangs above reception that says “I Came Here For You”.
The Devlin hotel has already been shortlisted for several awards including the RLI Interior Excellence Category 2019. My photographs have also helped it to be featured in the a whole host of publications including the Daily Telegraph, Irish Times, Independent, Hotel Owner Magazine.
One of the projects that I photographed with Microsoft last year was Station B.
Microsoft is creating a platform and bringing together partners to program biological systems, essentially understanding how to program cells like we program computers and eventually control how a cell behaves. Instead of programming in 1s and 0s researchers are using the building blocks of DNA to write “programs” that could, for instance, help a cell recognize and attack cancer. This can open doors to new treatments, drugs, cures and materials. The industry holds huge promise but still faces a number of challenges.
Microsoft is leveraging its expertise in programming and research to develop systems with state of the art programming languages, algorithms and machine learning methods to program cells; something few companies have the capabilities and research infrastructure to do.
Microsoft is partnering with researchers at Princeton University in the US and two UK companies – Oxford BioMedica, which focuses on gene and cell therapy, and Synthace, which develops scientific software – as it develops the new system, called Station B.
The project is featured in the Financial Times