A piece of equipment invented to combat the Ebola outbreak in 2014 is proving critical in the fight against COVID-19.
WaterStep's field consultants in Kenya, Malawi, DR Congo, Costa Rica, Tanzania, Nigeria, Uganda, Ecuador, Liberia, Ghana and Rwanda are using the organization's patented BleachMakers to provide developing communities with powerful disinfectant used to sanitize medical clinics, cooking equipment, surfaces, and more. They are also providing training on proper handwashing techniques and hygiene practices to help to stop the spread of disease.
- Humphrey Muchuma in Kenya has set up handwashing stations at bus stops, hospitals, and markets, and he's teaching hand washing through public service announcements.
- BaseFlow in Malawi has bottled and distributed 1,000 bottles of bleach to an NGO hospital in Neno, Malawi called Partners in Health.
- Raphael Wanjala in Kenya has worked with governmental leaders to get BleachMakers installed in 5 different communities, providing over 7,000 people with access to bleach disinfectant.
- Jean Claude Luhere from DR Congo is a physician who effectively trained hospitals throughout the DRC to combat the spread of Ebola by sanitizing with bleach. The hospitals are now using the BleachMaker to combat COVID19.
- Ana Lorena in Costa Rica is providing BleachMakers and hand washing training to communities in need.
- BleachMakers have been provided to more than a dozen social services agencies and homeless shelters in Louisville, KY and southern Indiana to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
"These are just a few of the stories we've been hearing from the past couple weeks," says Mark Hogg, Founder and CEO of WaterStep. "One of our partners called the BleachMaker 'a sword in the fight against COVID-19,' and we are grateful to see this powerful piece of equipment arm communities and save lives around the world."
WaterStep's award-winning portable BleachMaker was created to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. It is a handheld device that produces disinfectant strong enough to meet the world health organization's standards, and it can be used to sanitize hospitals and medical clinics, kitchens and cooking surfaces, clothing. The patented device is powered by water and table salt and plugs into an electric source. It can generate a gallon of concentrated bleach in an hour.
"In 2019 alone, more than 100 doctors used WaterStep's BleachMaker to significantly help reduce further infection of the Ebola virus in The DRC," says Dr. J.J. Muyembe, National Institute for Biomedical Research, Minister of Health, The Democratic Republic of Congo.
The BleachMaker was designed by a group of engineers from the University of Louisville, the Louisville Water Company and General Electric's FirstBuild Innovation Center who worked with WaterStep to develop the powerful disinfectant tool. It was funded by the Louisville Water Foundation, UPS and GE. WaterStep's BleachMaker won the Environmental Protection's Award for New Product of the Year in 2016.
To support WaterStep's work to fight the spread of COVID-19, text WaterStep to 44321, or visit waterstep.org/donate.
WaterStep, headquartered in Louisville, KY, is a 501(c)(3)nonprofit organization that believes everyone should have access to safe water and that no one should suffer from waterborne illnesses. WaterStep implements water projects and equips people with tools and training in water purification, disaster relief, health education, and well repair. Since its founding in 1995, WaterStep has brought safe water to nearly 3 million people in over 55 countries. For more information, visit waterstep.org.