Globally, an estimated 1.8 million people die from diarrheal disease yearly . A majority of these deaths occur among children under 5 years old in developing countries. In Cambodia, diarrheal disease is a leading burden and requires key interventions to address the estimated 44% of rural Cambodians who lack access to improved water supplies . Surface water is abundant in Cambodia, but tends to be of very poor quality. Lack of sanitation and water treatment in rural and urban areas contribute to the diarrheal burden of disease. Arsenic, fecal matter and bacteria are key contaminants leading to the spread of infectious diseases and other chronic conditions. Only 18% of rural communities have improved sanitation and only 56% have access to improved water supply , resulting in these high rates of diarrhea which severely affect the lives of newborns. Cambodia has an ever-present need for innovative solutions to water, sanitation, and hygiene issues RACHA is active in the community to educate, design, develop, and install sustainable solutions to avert mortality due to poor water, sanitation and hygiene.
With the Biotech Water Filtration System (BWFS) and micro filters, RACHA provides safe drinking water to rural and remote villages. The filtration system converts lake or pond water into safe drinking water for poor communities and rural health centers, making safe water accessible to all in hard to reach areas. Increasing access to safe drinking water and hygienic latrines are critical initial foundations necessary to achieving life-long hygiene behavior change.
Sanitation is another high need gap in Cambodia, where families often practice open defecation; which can cause contamination and contribute to the spread of diseases. RACHA is working to improve sanitation coverage through education, installation, and verified utilization of latrines.
Not only focusing on increased access to safe drinking water and sanitation practices, RACHA is also deeply devoted to healthy hygiene behavior change, which is at the core of long-term goals to improve health and wellbeing for families and children. Health education sessions and health activity demonstrations are the foundation of hygiene behavior change. With a wide network of community health workers, RACHA is able to implement hygiene behavior change activities and reach thousands of families to increase uptake of improved water, sanitation and hygiene practices.