Desalination units bring clean water to children and hospital patients
“Water for a hospital is indispensable. We need it for every task in this place.” — Maha Ajrami, Al Quds Hospital
Clean water for Gaza children
To address these problems, Anera recently provided new desalination units to two health care centers in Gaza. One is the the Ard El Insan clinic that works exclusively with malnourished children under five. It treats thousands of malnourished children each month.
The waiting room in this community-based pediatric primary care center is always crowded with women and children. Most of the children are quiet. Some look thin and undernourished.
“A lack of drinking water has always been an issue at this center,” says Dr. Adnan Al Wahaidi, the director at Ard El Insan.
Now children have a reliable source of drinking water accessible at the center. And families can buy groceries with the money they would have spent on bottled or tankered water.
In the kitchen of Ard El Insan clinic, a staff member washes pears. The fruit will be part of the nutritious daily meal with fresh meat, fruit and vegetables. The clinic offers these meals to young children in need.
The clinic also hosts food preparation classes. They teach parents how to prepare balanced meals on a tight budget. However, the budgets of many families are so limited that it is not possible to maintain a wholesome diet.
“We are dealing with many anemia cases,” says Mona Sohweel, manager of nutrition programs at the clinic. “We see as many as 100 patients a day.”
Approximately half of the children brought to the clinic are mildly malnourished. Thirty two percent are moderately malnourished, and 16 percent are severely malnourished.
“To improve life for children in Gaza, we have to tackle the water issue on all levels,” says Dr. Al Wahaidi.
26x higher than acceptable and healthy
This is what Anera found when we tested the water at the Ard El Insan Clinic in Gaza.
Anera installed a reverse osmosis desalination unit.
It purifies 2,640 gallons (10,000 liters) of water a day, helping some 40,000 patients each year.
We also attached a filter to ensure the best balance between calcium and minerals to fortify the clinic’s malnourished young patients.
New desalination unit improves hospital care
Hospitals rely on clean water. So operating in Gaza presents significant challenges. Even the big hospitals in the territory have struggled with the problem.
“We had an old [desalination] unit,” Dr. Bashar Morad says of Al Quds Hospital, where he works.
“It was outdated and tests showed it was inadequate and didn’t pump enough water for our needs. The hospital has expanded in the last 10 years. We perform more surgeries, particularly in the cardiology and dialysis departments.”
Inside the hospital lab, clean water is crucial for sterilization and disinfection. Pure water is necessary to maintain equipment in good working condition.
“The need is so great. The nephrology department especially requires clean water. Water inside the machines must be 100 percent free of salinity to avoid damaging the equipment,” he says. “We used to get machines breaking down after three to six months of operation. Now maintenance is much better,” Dr. Morad says.
Maha Ajrami, head of the lab at the hospital, says clean water is essential for her work. “Without clean water, our instruments will produce inaccurate results,” she says. Now, with the new reverse osmosis system, the hospital is able to treat more patients on dialysis.
The units installed at Al Quds Hospital and Ard El Insan were generously funded by the Alumbra Innovations Foundation, Inc.