For decades, skeletal fluorosis (abnormal bone growth and joint solidification) has had a severe impact on the lives of those living in the Arusha region of Tanzania, where fluoride levels can reach over sixty times the US recommended level in local water sources. The detrimental effects of high fluoride levels in this part of Tanzania have been scientifically documented since 1967 and yet little has been done since to combat the problem. These effects include chronic pain and crippling skeletal fluorosis. High fluoride levels have also been linked to poor cognitive development in children.
Half a century later, these detrimental effects have only been exacerbated through inaction by local authorities. Oldonyosambu ward, a group of Maasai communities approximately forty kilometres from the Kenyan border, still draws its water from the same sources as fifty years ago, which were found to have twenty times the US recommended fluoride level. This has led to major skeletal deformities in children and adults in the community.
The Nasio Trust’s mission is to protect vulnerable children such as Wilson (pictured above) so that they can develop to reach their full potential and build a positive future for themselves, growing into happy, healthy and confident adults. The best way for us to do this is to remove or reduce the cause of their problems, in this case by giving them the means to purify their own water and collect fluoride free rainfall. Both these methods will also provide safer drinking water in terms of water-borne disease and so will further improve the quality of life and long term health outcomes for this community.
To achieve this, a dedicated team of three Oxford University interns and one alumnus will travel to Tanzania and spend two months overseeing our project. The team will post regular updates on their progress throughout the two months and will use their combined backgrounds in science and engineering to come up with new and innovative ways to combat this problem. This will include buying and installing ten 10,000 L rainwater collection tanks and developing a new and sustainable way to purify water using solar power.
With your help and support we can truly make a difference to these people, who have been neglected for fifty years by their authorities and left to suffer with these highly preventable afflictions.