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Lessons Learned from Emergency Arsenic Mitigation Activities

QQ Zaman, M Rahman, M A Hasnat, S Roy, M R Chowdhury

Dhaka Community Hospital

Carrying out a country wide survey was a big challenge to DCH with its limited resources. But due to careful planning and implementation the survey was completed successfully. The actual way of surveying was an important learning process for DCH. Through this study we were able to utilise the wonderful potential of our youth, and at the same time we were impressed by the cooperation and participation of the community. We experienced many problems during the study; most of these were overcome by our team members. The most important learning for DCH is that community participation has to be ensured to formulate any mitigation plan in future to combat arsenic problems. Our observation suggests that cost effective mitigation options to combat arsenic crisis which are integrated, sustainable and affordable to the community may be find out through community involvement, a huge establishment won't be required. Lesson learnt from this survey will be applied to the next phase of our works.

Points Discussed

Public health problem


  • Magnitude of the problem
  • Severity of the problem
  • Whether any intervention available?
  • Intervention is cost effective

Lessons Learned

  • It is a public health problem for Bangladesh
  • Potentials of our young people
  • Community cooperation & involvement
  • Lists of water sources
  • Database for 200 villages
  • Needs assessment of the community & their need for safe arsenic-free water

Problems Faced

  • Lack of coordination between GOB & others
  • Validity of field kits are in question
  • People still drinking water from "red" tubewells
  • Difficulties in patient management
  • Village maps weren't supplied
  • Number of tubewells varies
  • Accommodation, food, communication problems
  • Sample water testing report?

Available Options

  • Existing green (safe) tube well
  • Existing pond/ tank water
  • Dug well
  • Rain water harvesting
  • Pond sand filtration
  • Filtration at home level


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