Banwasi Seva Ashram (BSA), Sonbhadra District, Uttar Pradesh
Contact: Dr. Vibha Augustine
Dates: August 2020 – July 2022
Total Budget: Rs. 11,16,000
2021 Budget: Rs. 4,18,000
In the first year of BSA’s project for the mitigation of fluorosis, BSA conducted health surveys, tested water sources in Kushmaha and Govindpur, the two villages most seriously affected by fluorosis in the Sonbhadra district of Uttar Pradesh, and selected a population sample for their pilot project.
BSA surveyed the health of 284 households in Kushmaha and 104 households in Govindpur. They tested 86 sources of water in Kushmaha and found a fluoride concentration between 0.6 to 7.26 mg/L. Of the 33 sources tested in Govindpur, the concentration of fluoride varied from 0.8 to 6.76 mg/L. (The World Health Organization’s limit for fluoride in drinking water is 1.5 mg/L.) BSA created color coded maps that indicate the level of fluoride and conducted community programs to inform the villagers of safe sources. Maps were posted at the panchayat house for community awareness.
Based on urinary fluoride data and on the level of fluoride in the drinking water, BSA identified 94 most seriously affected households. BSA selected one individual from each of those 94 households based on the severity of dental and skeletal fluorosis. Additionally, they selected 6 controls who used safe drinking water, had low urinary fluoride and no symptoms of fluorosis.
BSA’s plans for the establishment of kitchen gardens for nutrition were interrupted by Covid-19 but they started 30 kitchen gardens (out of 100). They also provided vitamin and mineral supplements to symptomatic cases and encouraged the consumption of til (sesame seed) laddus as sesame seeds are high in calcium, which helps mitigate fluorosis. They held community meetings to emphasize the need for improved nutrition to combat fluorosis.
Additionally, BSA conducted a study to compare two different kits for fluoride removal in home drinking water – WATSAN and standard activated alumina and concluded that the WATSAN kits were better suited for their intervention in terms of efficacy and ease of use.
BSA will distribute WATSAN fluoride removal kits and fluoride testing kits to all the families in the study cohort and perform periodic serum, urine, and X-ray testing through the course of the pilot project to examine the effect of the reduction of fluoride in drinking water.