Dhaka Community Hospital Trust (DCH Trust) is the pioneer organization in the field of Arsenic contamination in Bangladesh. It really deserves the sole credit for highlight the serious health hazards caused by arsenic contamination in groundwater. DCH Trust has implemented deferent kinds of safe water options like River Sands Filter (RSF), Rain Water Harvesting, Dug-well, Water Quality Test etc. About 100000 people are getting arsenic free safe water in arsenic affected areas of Bangladesh. In addition DCH Trust has implemented the following programme on Arsenic Mitigation and Safe Water Option.
- 500 Villages Rapid Assessment Project
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare & UNDP Financial Survey
DCH Trust has completed first house to house arsenic testing and family screening in 500 villages of 29 districts under the project of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare funded by UNDP. The objectives of the screening program was to test all the tube-wells in the selected villages, to identify safe and hazardous well and mark them red or green accordingly, and to identify arsenic patients. It was also required that village maps were prepared and locations of tube-wells reproduced on these maps. Tube-well and health related data were to be collected using pre-tested questionnaire. It was also expected that the results of the findings would be shared with villagers along with appropriate messages on how to address the arsenic problem. The program was divided into two phases.
Phase I: In the first phase of the program, 21 districts were selected from where reports of cases of arsenicosis were available from existing database. From these districts, 200 villages were selected based on reports of existence of contaminated tube-wells from any known source. The program involved 15 teams to carry out the field activities. Each team comprised of three groups: initial screening group, water-quality testing group and health group. The initial screening group and the water quality testing group each had five workers. The health group consisted of nine members. There was one coordinator for supervising the work.
Phase II: With the same criteria of selection, the second phase expended the program to a further 300 villages selected from eight new and earlier 21 districts, the criteria of selection remaining the same. The field staff was divided into four groups with each group having one medical officer, one mapper, one monitoring officer and one field coordinator. Each group was divided into four teams. Each team had two water testers, three health workers and one supervisor. The field staff also included one dermatologist and one field coordinator. There was one coordinator in charge of overall supervision.
A summary of UNDP funded Emergency Arsenic Mitigation Project in 500 villages: