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
Jonathan Banks picked up one “honorable mention” title in the “Children of the World” category and three “nomination” titles in the “Architecture”, “Fine Art” and “portraiture” categories.
12th Annual Jury members included captains of the industry from Sotheby's, New York; Benetton, Ponzano Veneto; The Art Channel, London; Kolle Rebbe, Hamburg; Droga5, New York; Preus Museum, Norway; Art Beatus, Hong Kong; Forsman & Bodenfors, Gothenburg; Wieden & Kennedy, Portland; Fox Broadcasting Network, Los Angeles; Gallery Kong, Seoul; and Phillips, New York who honored Color Masters with 761 title awards and 1,032 nominees in 37 categories.
"It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 7,241 entries we received this year," said Basil O'Brien, the awards Creative Director. Jonathan Banks's photographs represent contemporary color photography at its finest.”
INTERNATIONAL COLOR AWARDS is the leading international award honoring excellence in colour photography. This celebrated event shines a spotlight on the best professional and amateur photographers worldwide and honors the finest images with the highest achievements in colour photography.
The idea of the workplace has changed dramatically in recent years. No longer just a physical setting, done right, the workplace can contribute to enhanced employee health and wellbeing, create a sense of community and improve pride in a place of work.
I was tasked to photograph the new International Quarter London building, which is a joint venture between Lendlease and LCR, designed specifically as the new headquarters for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Sitting within a 22 acre site that connects seamlessly to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the emerging Cultural and Education District, IQL is in the heart of Stratford. Combining workplace design expertise, Stratford’s green open spaces and outstanding transport connectivity, FCA staff will also have access to a range of facilities including an onsite gym, large roof terrace and 200-seat auditorium.
The new building was designed by world-acclaimed architects, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, to emulate the very latest thinking behind progressive ways of working. With the health and wellbeing of its occupants at the very forefront, it boasts stunning views of the City of London, as well as innovative design features. A key feature of the building is the atrium which has been designed as an open working environment. There are different work settings within the atrium for people to either work together or on their own.
The building has achieved the highest environmental rating for materials used. Innovative Closed Cavity Facade cladding monitors the position of the sun and adjusts the blinds accordingly, working with multi-service chilled beams to keep temperatures comfortable in the building without compromising on maximising natural light for its occupants from the floor to ceiling windows. 100% fresh air is circulated throughout the building, forming a healthy and stimulating environment to work in.
Around 6,300 employees are now established at IQL with the FCA and Unicef moving their headquarters to the development over the summer. They join TfL who moved to their new building, 5 Endeavour Square, in September 2017. Construction of the third commercial building is in progress, with space there pre-let to Cancer Research UK and British Council. Together they shall bring around 2,400 further staff to IQL when they move in late 2019 and early 2020 respectively.
I recently photographed for Microsoft with the brilliant journalist, Allison Linn who is their Senior writer, editor and multimedia storyteller. We were covering a research project at the Microsoft Centre in Cambridge.
When Microsoft released the Kinect system for playing Xbox video games about five years ago, it attracted the interest of an unlikely source: the healthcare company Novartis.
To try to quantify the progress of multiple sclerosis, doctors have developed astandard set of tests they perform. Doctors watch the patient and then use a rating scale to determine how strong the patient’s symptoms are. However, doctors are only human, and despite all their best efforts to standardize the MS test, in the end it is subjective.
That’s why the possibility of using computer vision, which is the type of technology found in the Kinect system, was so intriguing. Using a tool like the Kinect, the researchers at Novartis figured they could get a more consistent reading of how a patient performed on each of the tests, bringing a new level of uniformity that would help doctors better assess the progress of the disease. That, in turn, could speed up the process of getting the right treatments to patients.
Microsoft researchers have long been at the cutting edge of a field called machine learning, which is a branch of artificial intelligence in which systems get better at doing something as they gather more data. Machine learning is ideal for a project like Assess MS because, as the computer vision system captures more recordings of patient movements, it can deliver more consistent results showing the disease’s progression. It was a collaboration between doctor, patient and technology.
Ultimately, the researchers hope that Novartis and other pharmaceutical companies can use Assess MS to speed up clinical trials for multiple sclerosis, and perhaps, eventually, for other, similar diseases as well.
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