Short study on the social impact of arsenicosis

Screening patientsWe previously reported on the stories of two women suffering from the social stigma caused by the symptoms of arsenic poisoning, or arsenicosis. Many people believe arsenicosis is contagious or that it is a curse. Parents are reluctant to let their children play with children suffering from the poisoning and patients can be shunned within their villages. Continue reading “Short study on the social impact of arsenicosis”

Digest 06/2014: Arsenic in the news

newsdigestPlease have a read through this news digest of recent online publications on arsenic.

Risk substitution with well switching

Millions of households throughout Bangladesh have been exposed to high levels of arsenic (As) causing various deadly diseases by drinking groundwater from shallow tubewells for the past 30 years. Well testing has been the most effective form of mitigation because it has induced massive switching from tubewells that are high (>50 µg/L) in As to neighboring wells that are low in As. A recent study has shown, however, that shallow low-As wells are more likely to be contaminated with the fecal indicator E. coli than shallow high-As wells, suggesting that well switching might lead to an increase in diarrheal disease. Continue reading “Digest 06/2014: Arsenic in the news”

Completing the formation of community organisations in two project areas

Bir-3 (16)Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) are essential for people’s in rural Bangladesh. AMRF is implementing a project supported by WaterAid Bangladesh to reduce WaSH vulnerabilities in the arsenic affected areas of Munshiganj district. Our approach is based on the formation of Community Based Organisations (CBOs). This has to be done with great care, to ensure participation of people that are normally marginalised. Continue reading “Completing the formation of community organisations in two project areas”

Joshna and Latifa struggle with the stigma of arsenicosis

Short report prepared by: Md. Zahangir Alam, Union Supervisor, Shologhar, Munshiganj.

Joshna (25) comes from a very poor family. She got married eight years ago and now has two children. Joshna grew up in one of the most arsenic affected areas in the Munshigonj district. From her childhood, she has been drinking arsenic contaminated water. Continue reading “Joshna and Latifa struggle with the stigma of arsenicosis”

Annual report WaSH project

Working areas 2013-2014The report of our first year collaboration with WaterAid Bangladesh has been completed. The PROWSHAR project (Promoting safe water and sanitation access and hygiene motivation among rural poor in Arsenic Affected areas of Munshiganj) started in 2013 with the aim to reduce WaSH vulnerabilities in arsenic affected areas. This project will continue up to December 2016 and it will cover 4 Unions of 2 Upazilas under Munshiganj district. The first year was implemented in two Unions of Sreenagar Upazila. This report presents the key achievements against targets in all activities done in last year (2013-2014).

Featured in the ‘Water: Take 1’ newsletter

After winning their short film award, we are now grateful for featuring in Ventura Water’s ‘Water: Take 1′ newsletter. The contest presents water-themed short films – narrative, documentary, comedy, drama, animation, live action – to a jury made up of leaders in water and environmental issues, entertainment professionals and influential members of the community. The contest reopens in September this year.

A heuristic approach for arsenic mitigation in Bangladesh

Interdisciplinary Student Research

By Jorian Bakker, Kennard Burer, Martijn Kamps, Anne Kervers

Since the problem identification of arsenic contamination in Bangladesh, several mitigation options have been tried to provide safe drinking water. However, they have not had the intended effect yet. Often policy makers do not take local characteristics thoroughly into account. We have focused on creating an integrative tool that policy makers may use heuristically to choose the most feasible mitigation option when arsenic concentrations exceed the Bangladesh National Standard (BNS) in groundwater. A tool was designed that incorporates the key considerations and local conditions for developing arsenic mitigation policy in Bangladesh. This tool was composed using certain key-criteria that are absolutely necessary to take into account when assessing which mitigation method is most feasible on a specific location. This tool is the final product of interconnecting key-criteria. Continue reading “A heuristic approach for arsenic mitigation in Bangladesh”

Water and sanitation facilities inaugurated at secondary school

IMG_20140316_135605316As reported in a previous post, is important to place the arsenic problem in a broader public health context. Supported by WaterAid Bangladesh, AMRF implemented water and sanitation facilities at Shologhar A.K.S.K. high school. On March 16, Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) of Sreenagar, Munshiganj Ms. Shahanara Begum inaugurated these facilities. District education officer, Upazila education officer and Upazila secondary education officer, local leaders and CBO representatives were also present. The UNO said that “water and sanitation are essential for healthy life. We always appreciate these kinds of activities as well as hope these will continue for next of years to the rest of unions”. Upazila secondary education officer expressed his pleasure to know about these activities and urges others organizations to do same.


Arsenic contamination in the Mekong Delta: a looming danger for the food system?

Interdisciplinary Student Research

By Ralien Bekkers, Esmee Kooijman, Alexander van Dorssen

Figure 1

In the Mekong Delta, Vietnam, arsenic contamination occurs from natural sources. Arsenic levels can be as high as 300 times the recommended value set by the World Health Organization. Next to arsenic poisoning through drinking water, arsenic also accumulates in the food system through irrigation, causing further health- and socioeconomic impacts on local communities. The problem has not yet been resolved and insufficient research has been conducted on the effects of arsenic accumulation in the food system. Continue reading “Arsenic contamination in the Mekong Delta: a looming danger for the food system?”

An interdisciplinary approach to resolve arsenic poisoning of rural poor Bangladesh

Interdisciplinary Student Research

By Imme Groet, Hugo van Mens, Martijn Savenije

Chronic arsenic poisoning in Bangladesh through contaminated drinking water results in a major public health burden, especially for the rural poor segment of the population. Arsenic was first detected in the groundwater in the 1980s in West Bengal, India. Several studies by different scientists have been performed and solutions have been proposed. Many attempts have been made to resolve the problem. However, the problem still remains unresolved for large parts of the rural population. No single discipline succeeded in finding a solution. The problem contains many different facets that are the domain of various disciplines. Thus an integrated approach is necessary to understand and eventually resolve the problem. Continue reading “An interdisciplinary approach to resolve arsenic poisoning of rural poor Bangladesh”