Engineers Without Borders, MIT Chapter

Ddegeya, Uganda Project

We are partnering with Ddegeya Village and Engeye Health Clinic to work on a multifaceted water, energy and health project. 

Villagers gathered in front of Engeye Clinic                          

The Engeye Health clinic is located in the town of Ddegeya southwest of the capitol, Kampala in southern Uganda. Uganda is recovering from decades of civil war, yet still struggles with violent outbreaks from the Lord’s Resistance Army.
In 2007, the Engeye Clinic opened its doors to aid a community in desperate need of basic healthcare. The clinic was founded after American medical students discovered a village that lacked drinking water, electricity, and healthcare. Local Ugandan healthcare workers staff the clinic full-time. In 2008, the Engeye staff contacted EWB and a partnership with EWB-MIT was formed.

The Need:
The 5000 residents of Ddegeya lack a clean source of water and still use kerosene lamps. Children bear the burden of carrying water up a nearly 40 meter hill daily from the community’s broken boreholes.  All the water sources tested in August 2009 contain coliforms.  Many villagers reported a lack of firewood, the primary cooking fuel used in Ddegeya, and are often forced to spend much of their limited income to buy fuel in order to cook food and boil water. 

Engeye Clinic has limited solar power enough for a few light bulbs, but lacks basic lab equipment, such as microscopes, because of lack of power.  This means that Charles and Sophie, the nurses, are unable to properly diagnos many illnesses, or understand their severity.  Engeye is unable to admit patients overnight and often times must refer patients to a better equipped clinic in Masaka, Uganda, a 40 minute and $1 taxi ride away, which  many villagers are unable to make. 

MIT-EWB's Solution:
The EWB-MIT project is comprised of three components: water, energy and health. We want to work with the villagers of Ddegeya to create a capacity-building solution, one that the village can continue to develop of their own accord in the future.

Water: The water team intends to develop and implement an appropriate technology for water filtration and distribution.  The current plan consists of three stages.  The first stage is to assess the current water situation in the village and for the clinic.  The second stage consists of developing a distribution system to bring water to the village.  Currently, water must be brought from the water source, several kilometers from the village to the village.  This job falls to the children of the village, which can often prevent them from attending school.  The third stage will consist of water filtration.  As the water is contained, it will be less likely to be contaminated by bacteria. 

Energy: The goal for the energy team is to determine the most appropriate source of sustainable energy for the Engeye Health Clnic. The clinic currently has four solar panels that offer only limited power for a few light bulbs.  The clinic's power demands are rising with the development of a diagnostic lab, which will better allow them to treat their patients.

Health: EWB-MIT also plans on addressing the health needs of the community in partnership with the Engeye Health clinic. We plan on completing the traditional community health surveys. In addition, EWB-MIT is establishing an HIV Prevention Program, which will study the use of scale-free networks to target HIV hubs. The program involves identifying high-risk individuals and implementing an education and counseling program. We also plan on working with sustainable health technologies for the newly built diagnostic lab. We are considering the use of mobile phone technology in medical diagnostics as well as low-cost microscopes and centrifuges. These technologies will allow the clinic to perform desperately needed diagnostic tests that will prevent unnecessary deaths.

      Schoolchildren with jerrycans  examinations

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