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Background and Rationale

In an effort to control outbreaks and prevent reoccurrence of waterborne infectious diseases in Harare’s suburbs, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has successfully developed and piloted an Environmental Health Toolkit with a strong Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) focus. Recent programme results, as well as operational research, validate the toolkit as an effective, cost-efficient, and sustainable approach meeting an urgent demand in Zimbabwe and the South Africa Region.

Building on the toolkit’s success and the promising evidence, MSF is looking to expand the use of the toolkit in neighbouring countries and the South African Region and is offering its tools and training materials to neighbouring MSF missions and partners.

MSF, Doctors Without Borders, Zimbabwe, Water and sanitation toolkit

Toolkit Components

The toolkit currently consists of four modular components, which can be adapted individually or jointly:

1. Borehole Diagnosing and Rehabilitation

Diagnosing, repairing, cleaning, and rehabilitating obstructed or contaminated boreholes is often more cost efficient and effective than drilling new ones. A custom-fit vehicle with a mobile camera, data probes, depth water sampler helps in diagnosing the underlying cause of borehole dysfunctionality and actions are taken based on the diagnosis to rehabilitate the boreholes to get fresh water from existing nonfunctional water points.

2. Community Health Clubs

Engaging local communities in managing water points creates sustainable ownership and responsibility and helps ensure the monitoring of water quality. The training for Community Health Clubs (CHCs) includes water point management, resource mobilization, sanitation, personal hygiene, and containing infectious disease outbreaks.

3. Borehole Drilling and Construction Techniques

Shallow water aquifers can be contaminated with bacteria and get into boreholes. When drilling new boreholes, it is therefore imperative to use the right drilling techniques and cement a proper sanitary seal around the borehole casing.

4. Geophysical Surveying and Borehole Siting

Geophysical surveying technology helps to find the best location for a new borehole, with subsurface images showing potential water-bearing formations.

How to use this document

This introduction provides an overview of the modular toolkit components, details the materials available for each component, identifies intended audiences of each product, and provides the link to the respective resources.

During the regional rollout of the toolkit, this document will be updated regularly to reflect changes to training materials and tools and incorporate lessons learned. At a later stage, the toolkit overview and related materials are planned to be transferred into an online repository.

Downloads of each toolkit available on each page 

Contact and Support

MSF Zimbabwe and its Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Team are accompanying the regional upscaling of the toolkit with dedicated training and implementation support. MSF’s operational research unit LuxOR and its policy and practice advisor support the project with strategic planning, communication and advocacy support.

For all questions and support requests please contact:

Danish Malik

Regional Project Coordinator

(Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa)

Environmental Health Project

Médecins Sans Frontières (OCB)| Zimbabwe Mission

[email protected]


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