CKDu or Chronic Kidney Disease of Uncertain Aetiology is perhaps the most serious non communicable disease afflicting the dry zone farming communities in six out of nine provinces in Sri Lanka.
According to the Health Ministry, there are approximately 70,000 estimated CKD/CKDu patients in known high risk areas of Medawachchiya, Padaviya, Kabithigollewa, Rambewa, Madirigiriya, Wilgamuwa, Girandurukotte, Padavi Sripura, Gomerankadawala, Dehiattakandiya, Polpithigama and Welioya.
The project being funded by Commercial Bank and other private donors was able to deliver 25 tanks within two weeks to households earlier this year. Centre for Handicapped joined this effort recently and now manages the funds coming from donors.
Each tank, at 7ft in height, has a capacity of 5,000 liters and on an average it cost
Rs. 75,000/- to install so it can catch the rainwater flowing from the rooftops of the houses. The villagers appreciate this initiative and offered to work free of charge on the installations. The advantage is that it has no utility costs.
There are 106 families in Badulupura, and out of them, there are 33 patients, it was thus decided to focus on the quality of water they have been drinking to understand the correlation between water and CKDu. There is something in the water which is making them sick. But it is just not the water. It is most likely a combination of factors, and the investigations carried out at Ginnoruwa clearly indicate that quality of drinking water may hold the clue to unraveling the CKDu mystery.
This project, named the ‘Raindrops Project’ (Wehi bindu) has been providing clean drinking water to several households since early January this year. It is now eight months since the project implementation commenced at Ginnoruwa, and seven months since households provided with rainwater storage facilities commenced using rainwater for drinking and cooking purposes.
Benefits of drinking rainwater
Many people claim that they no longer suffer from the ‘burning sensation’ while
passing urine after they began to consume rainwater.
A recent screening of both ‘treatment’ group (households drinking rainwater) and ‘control’ group (households having access to well water only) identified 5 new CKDu cases. All of them were from the ‘control’ group. No new patients were observed in the ‘treatment’ group. While this may be a mere coincidence, it is significant and needs to e closely monitored.
At Ginnorowa alone 108 more rain water harvesting tanks are needed with 35 for families who are already impacted and 73 for families who have yet not got impacted with the disease but who are very much at risk.
The two tanks shown in the above picture are placed at a School in Ginnoruwa.
The tank shown in the above picture is placed at a temple in Ginnoruwa.
For community based location like schools and temples large 10,000 lts tanks are needed and three such tanks have been recently installed funded by a generous donor from Kandy who donated through Centre for Handicapped.