A journey through Kenya's ORT corners

Jan 12, 2012


Sara Watson
Safe Water Project, PATH


In November, while traveling for PATH's Safe Water Project, I had the opportunity to link up with PATH's Alfred Ochola in Kakamega to tour ORT corners in two area hospitals.  Having never been to rural Kenya, nor to any medical facilities in the field, it was an exciting (albeit emotional) experience that gave me even further insight into the extreme importance of clean water.



According to the World Health Organization (WHO), diarrheal disease is responsible for 1.3 million child deaths annually, with much of the cause stemming from unclean water.



Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT) is a proven way to reduce the risk of death due to extreme dehydration from diarrhea.  In Western Province, there are currently 86 revitalized ORT corners.



Roughly only half of the 86 have electricity.



The hospitals we visited report an average number 8-10 of ORT corner visits per day.



Community health workers prepare oral rehydration solution (ORS) for each patient when they come in. 



In cases of severe dehydration, ORS may not be enough. 1-2 children are admitted to the pediatric ward each day to receive IV fluids.



Thankfully, most children that are seen are able to go home after receiving treatment at the ORT corner, a process that can take up to 4 hours.



Through efforts like PATH's ORT corner revitalization and the Safe Water Project, the hope is to keep kids healthy - out of clinics and hospitals, and instead continuing to grow and thrive with their families, in school, and with each other.


-- Sara Watson, Safe Water Project, PATH


For more information:

-- How does ORT work?

-- VIDEO: Follow Alfred Ochola through Western Province in "A Cup a Corner, and a Community: Kenyans Working to Defeat Diarrhea."

-- PHOTOS: Thirsty for more ORT? Check out our progress in Vietnam.


Photo credits: Sara Watson