Point-of-use water treatment and diarrhoea reduction in the emergency context: an effectiveness trial in Liberia
Communicable diseases are of particular concern in conflict and disaster-affected populations that reside in camp settings. In the acute emergency phase, diarrhoeal diseases have accounted for more than 40% of deaths among camp residents. Clear limitations exist in current water treatment technologies, and few products are capable of treating turbid water. We describe the findings of a 12-week effectiveness study of point-of-use water treatment with a flocculant–disinfectant among 400 households in camps for displaced populations in Monrovia, Liberia. In intervention households, point-of-use water treatment with the flocculant–disinfectant plus improved storage reduced diarrhoea incidence by 90% and prevalence by 83%, when compared with control households with improved water storage alone. Among the intervention group, residual chlorine levels met or exceeded Sphere standards in 85% (95% CI: 83.1–86.8) of observations with a 95% compliance rate.