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Water,Sanitation and Hygiene Awareness Campaign
in the Lower Assam

The second phase of assessments and health care intervention in the flood affected districts of Kokrajhar, Dhubri and Bongaigaon revealed that the status of health services and water sanitation and hygiene remains crucial and still undermined by the district authorities. Compared to the districts of Lakhimpur, Dhemaji or Sonitpur where flood occurs on yearly basis the preparation for flood (like raised water source/boats to evacuate household items, livestock etc.) in the above mentioned three districts were found absent. Hand pumps and wells were totally inundated by the floodwater as water logging was observed above 3 ft. Collected water samples from the villages of Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar and Dhubri district were found contaminated. Open defecation was observed while the community was in the relief camps. The community continued practicing open defecation even after returning to their villages as sanitation facilities were completely damaged by the flood water. Similarly the community who returned to their villages after flood water receded had no other option but drink the contaminated water creating high possibilities of water borne diseases.

Focusing on the critical situation pertaining to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Doctors For You carried out extensive WASH promotion activities in all the villages and relief camps where health camps were conducted. Demonstration regarding disinfection of wells and tube wells using bleaching powder was shown to the affected community. In 10 villages across the three district of Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon and Dhubri, water sources samples were found contaminated. In few villages the community members stated that the district official distributed bleaching powders but the villagers were unaware about the usage of it. It was also observed that bleaching powders were sprayed in the camp surroundings which has little positive outcome. Water samples from all the assessed areas were collected through H2S kits and all the samples were found to be contaminated both at point of source and point of use. The community was also trained in preparation of stock chlorine solution for disinfecting drinking water along with distribution of chlorine tablets.