Expatriates of DRC are extremely loyal to their native country and a team of DRC natives joined forces to help their countryman survive viral outbreaks. While some raised money, others were trained by WaterStep, some delivered WaterStep’s lifesaving equipment or travelled to implement the solution.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a large country in central Africa that is often overwhelmed by the effects of transferable disease. Not only have viruses like Ebola and Covid19 crippled the DRC and its people, but the country has also been subjected to devastating floods. Exacerbated by a profound lack of access to sufficient sanitation and a supply of dangerously contaminated water, disease has become a key issue for the DRC.
WaterStep took note of the devastation caused by the Ebola and Covid19 outbreaks in the DRC and responded by setting up equipment in a ‘T’ pattern in the country’s most populated areas. This included the setting up of proper disinfection facilities and providing access to safe water in all hospitals, clinics, and dispensaries throughout high traffic and at-risk areas. This response proved effective and assisted in preventing diseases from spreading into bordering areas.
Jean and Kashoro Claude Luhere | WaterStep Field Consultant
Dr Jean Claude and his wife, Kashoro, come from the Democratic Republic of the Congo where Dr Jean Claude worked as a physician. The couple then started a nonprofit organization called Helping Hand for Survivors’(HHS).
In the spring of 2019, and in response to the Ebola outbreak in DRC, Dr Jean Claude met with WaterStep to discuss relief options. One important piece of equipment that Dr Jean Claude trained medical professionals in the DRC to use is the BleachMaker. These bleach-emitting machines were designed by the WaterStep manufacturing team in direct response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014 and have proved to be highly effective, the bleach produced exceeds the World Health Organization standards (which is at 5 PPM to be used in a medical clinic), making it strong enough to kill the highly contagious Ebola virus in a contaminated environment.
Dr Jean Claude and HHS were determined to step in and tackle the Ebola outbreak before it hit big cities. Ensuring that BleachMakers were available when needed and were used correctly played a large role in their aid.
When the global Covid19 pandemic hit in 2020, Dr Jean Claude knew his services would be needed in the DRC once again. During this time, WaterStep provided an additional 25 BleachMakers to be distributed to the new Covid treatment centers. The BleachMakers and Dr Jean Claude’s assistance had been such a success during the Ebola outbreak of 2019, that the Covid treatment centers were eager to accept the WaterStep BleachMakers to ensure that their facilities were properly disinfected.
Dr Jean Claude and Kashoro continue to work tirelessly to provide relief for the people of their home country. They may live thousands of miles away, but they continue to actively serve the people and country that they love so much. Helping Hand for Survivors is grateful for the opportunity to partner with Waterstep to assist in combatting the spread of Ebola and Covid19 in North and South-Kivu of the DRC; and to provide access to safe water and disinfectant facilities to the survivors in these regions. WaterStep is proud to be helping them do this important work in the DRC and looks forward to continuing positive results.
In addition to the BleachMakers, WaterStep also provided WaterBalls to HHS, which are designed to assist people of all ages transport water safely and effectively. Women and children in the DRC typically transport water by carrying containers on their heads. The average of these containers holds 5 gallons and weighs 40 pounds. These five gallons of water will supply water to one person in the family for just one day. As a result, multiple trips need to be made daily in order for families to have enough water to meet their needs.
The WaterBall is our WaterStep’s solution to this problem and holds a massive 12.5 gallons of water. This is over double the amount that members of these communities are able to carry on their heads. The WaterBalls also serve as transport tool and roll easily over almost any surface, making them much easier get from point A to point B.