Could contaminated water also affect eyesight? Actually, yes. River blindness (Onchocerciasis) is an eye and skin disease caused by the worms of the black fly. These flies live and reproduce near fast flowing rivers and streams putting communities who live near rivers at risk.The female worm (transmitted by the black fly) will produce thousands of baby worms who will migrate into the eye of the victim causing blindness and eye sight problems. Once this happens, the risk of death is possible and the victim would suffer from intense itching and skin diseases such as lizard skin.

This brings our attention to what is happening in Ghana. There are many communities in Ghana that are poor and live in huts with hay roofs and no doors; without doors, the huts are totally opened to all the black flies which bring the parasitic disease. Another way that the disease is transmitted is through the water. Most water sources are shared with livestock and have contaminated water. Furthermore, there are no cures and treatments for Onchocerciasis so people with river blindness have to live in vain.

Joanna did not know this about Ghana until she met Nana (Prince) Boadu, Jr. a Facebook friend of her daughter-in-law. Nana and Joanna connected and she asked him if his community would benefit from a water filter. He immediately replied ‘yes’ and proceeded to send photos and videos of the elders of a nearby village who spoke of the River Blindness. Nana lives in Akwadum-Koforidua, in the eastern region of Ghana about two hours from Accra. He used his own funds to secure transportation to three villages to document the disease and take a tally of the number of families.

With donations from friends and Water4Life Ministry, they sent Nana 60 life-saving VF100 Home Filters as well as a video on how to assemble and backflush them. These filters were delivered by our local Business Connect distributors who had inventory in-country. Nana gathered a group of friends, purchased 60 buckets in which they drilled holes for the filter hoses and assembled the filter kits. They were able to become quite proficient at assembly and filter care, training others to do the same.

El VF100 Home Filter is known for its easy assembly and simple maintenance. It can provide filtered water for an entire family quickly, one liter every two minutes.With 30 of these filters, Nana returned to one of the villages and with the assistance of his friends, delivered and demonstrated how to use them. The elders were elated to have such a blessing find their village and thankful for the dedication and support for the needy of Ghana. Nana will continue to travel to the villages as Joanna and the Water4Life team continue to send even more filters to the communities suffering from waterborne and bacterial Illnesses.

The VF100 home filter will eliminate 99.999% of the bacteria caused by the Onchocerciasis and will give families a chance at surviving this dreaded disease. As word continued to spread about the impact of the water filters, another pastor reached out for support. Joanna and the Water4Life team plan to raise even more money for his village and many others. If you would like to use the VF100 Home Filters in a project like Joanna’s, we would be happy to partner with you. Our local Business Connect distributors have inventory in-country, waiting for projects just like this. They also sell them in the local marketplace, making the products available to even more communities. You can also support Joanna’s project by going to the Water4Life Ministry website.

Original Story by Joanna Herr, Water4Life Ministry

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