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“…will death ever be back to our village…?”

By Ayana Molla

The disease that caused Emuhay Ayal Guadie's illness was strange. Her son, Menesha Atalo, and his wife Eleletie Muchie tried to treat the disease traditionally by a coffee ceremony and sacrificing a sheep. All these didn't bring solution to Emuhay, the Eleletie's mother-in-law. Then in May 2008, her family took Emuhay to Delgi Health Center looking for better medications. Unlike the previous years, the rain failed to rain around this time.

Eleletie (30) is a mother of five children (three sons)living in Gebaza, Mekonta Kebele, Takusa district, North Gondar zone. .. Gebaza is the village where 1000 households dwell and is about five k.ms from Delgi town (main centre of Takusa) and 285 km from Bahir Dar.

The family brought Emuhay back home, convinced that appropriate treatment was given to her. However, the Health Center was unable to properly diagnose and treat Emuhay. As a result, her health condition deteriorated and the family had to take her to a private pharmacy. The pharmacy referred her back to Delgi Health Center. Eleletie remarked: "I remembered Emuhay had a continuous vomiting and diarrhea all these times." Finally, Emuhay, who was the mother of 12 children (of whom four are males) died at the age of 75. As Eleletie revealed, one pregnant woman died around the same time in the village due to the same water born disease.

Moreover, in June 2008, Yambol Atalo who is one of Emuhay's daughters (28 years of age), and a mother of two (a boy and a girl) were ill by the disease. Taking lessons from Emuhay's ordeal, the family took Yambol to Delgi Health Center. At this time, the center knew about the disease, thus admitted the patient and treated her properly. Following this the twin brothers - Mengesha Atalo (Eleletie's husband) and Menesha Atalo (37) - and Nani Tegegne (28) who were taken ill by the same cause.Eleletie reported that there were seven family members who got ill with the disease and treated at the Health Center and recovered completely. She added that there were about 40 persons from Gebaza village who got sick due to the same reason.

Furthermore, Eleletie's drinking unsafe water was the main cause of the disease. She said that the main water source for the inhabitants is Gebaza river, which has many impurities drained in to it especially through flooding during the rainy season. "Wild and domestic animals also used to drink from this same river and people do their washings here," as Eleletie elaborated. All these contaminated the river, conducive for breading of water-borne diseases.

Realizing the risk from the disease since July 2008, inhabitants of Gebaza started to voice their concerns. The information gathered from Takusa district indicates that the joint efforts of the local government administrations, Organization for Rehabilitation and Development in Amhara (ORDA), AGOH and others paved the way to respond to the problem by constructing a hand dug well..

Eleletie is working hard to mobilize the community to have access for the hand dug well constructed by ORDA, and plays a key role in the management of the scheme. She is also a member of the WATSAN committee established for the project, and has benefited from a training meant for the same purpose.

No one is getting sick in the village since the supply of safe water to the community. "There is no more death in Gebaza village due to acute diarrhea and vomiting caused by drinking unsafe water", as Eleletie said. Sighing, she asked: "will death ever be back to our village?" and answered herself "No it won't...". She recognizes that ORDA and AGOH played a key role in contributing to sustainably control the disease through the construction of hand dug well in the village. Seizing this opportunity, she said "the credit goes to the implementer (ORDA), the local administration, and the donor (AGOH/ Charity Water), all played their level best to deliver safe water to us thereby saving many lives and tackling health problems."

Finally, it's noted that beneficiaries of the safe water have contributed 25 Birr per household as initial capital. They have also reached a consensus to pay 0.50 Birr monthly for ensuring sustainable use of the water scheme.

Last Updated (Monday, 22 October 2012 14:20)

 


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