Saving Lives with the Water Treatment Pill "Sur’Eau Pilina" in Eastern Madagascar’s Remote Communities

Speeches Shim

Sunday, April 5, 2020
Soazara Philomene, Community Health Volunteer

Philomène lives in Ambohimanarivo, a village of about 548 households in eastern Madagascar.  The mother of four children, she has served as a Community Health Volunteer (CHV) for more than ten years.  As a CHV, Philomène raises the villagers’ awareness, mobilizing them to participate in all health-related initiatives and providing first level health care to those living far away from  health facilities.

One afternoon, Philomène and other villagers attended an awareness-raising session that USAID’s IMPACT project conducts monthly in the village.  As the mobile sound system began to play, a crowd from all parts of the village gathered in the village square to listen.  That day, the IMPACT project communications team came to educate the villagers on the use of the water treatment pill “Sur’Eau Pilina” and organize a flash sale for the product.

“In our village, unsafe water is one of the leading causes of disease,” Philomène said.  “Here, women and children travel long distances to fetch water from the river.  After fever, diarrhea is the second reason for consultations and can cause death, especially in children under five,” she said.  As a CHV, Philomène encourages her fellow villagers to use Sur’Eau and refrain from using the contaminated water from the river. Sur'Eau Pilina is a fast and cost-effective method of treating water.  Thanks to this product, villagers can have safe drinking water at home, even in areas like our village where there’s no water infrastructure,” she explained.

Cases of diarrhea have decreased significantly in the village as sales of Sur’Eau have increased. “Access to safe drinking water has gone a long way in reducing diarrhea cases, especially in children under five,” Philomene said.  “If earlier, I received about eight patients with diarrhea daily, now I only treat one or two cases.”

USAID's IMPACT project, through its social marketing of health products, ensures that CHVs like Philomène are continuously supplied with essential life-saving products like Sur'Eau.