Sunday, September 15, 2013
Clean Water Saves Lives
Myrtle talks about life in India and Pakistan
Submitted by Myrtle Macdonald, Chilliwack
Let us see these
issues from a world perspective, such as of the suffering of more
than 5000 families because their babies have died. That is every
day, not just 3000 once. Infants die because of malnutrition and
lack of sewage treatment. Churches have lowered this death rate and
suffering by funding missions serving mothers of children under 5
years of age. I have served overseas myself for 20 years, doing this
sort of preventive and educational work.
They became very
effective teachers, and even Muslim women trusted them. The three
teams each had a hand held spring scale with a jumper bag to hold
each baby. Each mother was given a graphic card on which we marked
the weight monthly. The coloured rainbow was red for serious under
weight, yellow for mild and green for good. Some weights were even
below the red. After a few months we would stop going monthly to a
village and only do so once in three months. In that way we served
more and more villages, brick yards and city slum areas. The quality
of health care by mother had improved. We were no longer needed.
Outcast traditional midwives were also accepted in their CHW classes. An upper class lady make that acceptable by saying "Mahatma Gandhi would have approved of their attendance in our classes." A nurse who was a midwife joined me and taught them safe midwifery right in their homes. She got around on foot and by bicycle. I had a cycle rickshaw and later a motor rickshaw and driver.
The village leaders wanted men included so I has special classes for them on village development and sanitation. We formed Health Advisory Committees.
I also taught local masons in India to install cement slab latrines with a U-shaped trap over a bamboo lined six foot deep hole. No chemicals were needed and a little water kept them clean and odor-free because of water in the U bend. We did not have funds however to install large sewage treatment schemes. Use of chemicals for that purpose is environmentally wrong anyway. We can inform our politicians and the public of simple ways to treat sewage and produce valuable compost to use as fertilizer. When a pit latrine is getting full another hole can be dug and the slab top with a U transferred to the new site.
outhouse of branches or bamboo with a door for privacy is all that
is needed. Then the old hole is covered with earth and a fruit tree
I wept in 1969
when I first learned that was happening to the St. Lawrence River.
Is it still that bad? How about the Fraser, the Columbia and the
Myrtle Macdonald M.Sc. Applied (in Nursing Research and Education), McGill University.
She is a retired registered nurse living in Chilliwack now working with the local chapter of the BC Schizophrenia Association. Myrtle was a street nurse for many years in places like India and Montreal. She turned 92 in June and is one of the Voice's most popular contributors.
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