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Abstract: PO1060

Feasibility and Benefits of Hemodialyzer Filtration of Contaminated Water in Poor Rural Communities in Ghana

Session Information

Category: Dialysis

  • 701 Dialysis: Hemodialysis and Frequent Dialysis

Authors

  • Port, Friedrich K., Easy Water for Everyone, New York, New York, United States
  • Raimann, Jochen G., Easy Water for Everyone, New York, New York, United States
  • Boaheng, Joseph Marfo, Easy Water for Everyone, New York, New York, United States
  • Narh, Philip Kwaku, Easy Water for Everyone, New York, New York, United States
  • Johnson, Seth, Easy Water for Everyone, New York, New York, United States
  • Donald, Linda L., Easy Water for Everyone, New York, New York, United States
  • Zhang, Hongbin, City University of New York, New York, New York, United States
  • Levin, Nathan W., Easy Water for Everyone, New York, New York, United States
Background

Contaminated water supplies for drinking water are a source of health problems in poor communities. Hemodialyzers with a pore size of 0.003 micrometers have been known to be effective in preventing transfer of bacteria and most viruses. Our NGO, “Easy Water for Everyone,” investigated prospectively the incidence of diarrhea, before and after implementation of water treatment utilizing reused hemodialyzers in poor villages lacking electricity and sanitation in Ghana.

Methods

Data were collected monthly regarding the incidence of diarrhea and death in households of 8 villages that have no electricity during February to November 2018. In 4 “study” villages the main source of drinking water (river), was processed after the first 5 (pre) months through a set of 8 hemodialyzers that produced purified water at ~250 L per hour. River water was pumped weekly into an elevated holding tank to be drawn by gravity through the dialyzers whenever the faucet was opened. Manual back flushes (4x/day) by trained villagers maintained high output of clean water. The same data collection in 4 “control” villages where the polluted water was not (yet) treated during the same 10 month period. We also assessed the function of the devices over >11 months of use in 9 villages.

Results

[1] Monthly rates of diarrhea in the study villages decreased from 18 to 5 per 100 villagers from the pre to the post period for a rate reduction by 72 % (rate ratio = 0.27). In the control group the average monthly rate during the same calendar months decreased by 23% (p >0.05) from the first to the second 5 months. After >11 months of daily filtration in 9 villages (population ~2000) none of the filters had to be replaced, suggesting that daily back-flush management prevented hemodialyzer clogging.

Conclusion

We demonstrated feasibility and success of sustaining a simple and efficient treatment of infected water for entire villages in absence of available electricity. The continuous function over >11 months indicates low cost of the device over time. The reduction in diarrhea from before to after initiation of the hemodialyzer filtration device is large. The simplicity of hemodialyzer filtration by gravitational feed, low cost and relative ease suggest wider application to other needy villages.

Funding

  • Private Foundation Support