Safe water

Waterborne diseases are among the leading threats people living through humanitarian crises face around the world today. Making sure that the water people have to drink is safe and free from pathogens is essential for preventing the spread of waterborne infectious diseases. 

But there's a problem. The water treatment guidelines commonly used in humanitarian response are not based on field evidence from emergency settings. This means they can fail to ensure that is safe where people actually drink it in refugee and internally displaced persons (IDP) camps. This can have disastrous consequences for public health.
Fortunately, there's a solution to this problem. Medécins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research at York University (Toronto, Canada), with the support of the Achmea Foundation, are building an innovative Safe Water Optimization Tool that uses machine learning to take routine water quality monitoring data and use it to generate custom, evidence-based water chlorination guidance for any field site in temperate and tropical climates globally. Our new web-based Tool will enable humanitarian responders to reliably ensure water is safe to drink in emergencies and, thereby, will improve public health outcomes for vulnerable people all around the world. 


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  • Using our Safe Water Optimization Tool, humanitarian responders will be able to generate custom, evidence-based water chlorination guidance that demonstrably ensures that water is safe to drink in temperate and tropical climates globally, using just routine monitoring data.

  • 182,710 refugees and IDPs in crisis zones in sub-Saharan Africa will benefit from improved water safety through evidence-based optimization of water chlorination at our three field pilot sites.

  • The successful pilot of the Safe Water Optimization Tool in sub-saharan Africa will be used to transform safe water practice in the global humanitarian sector.