Professor Huw Taylor and Dr James Ebdon are making a major contribution to protecting health and improving the environment through their work with International agency Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the World Health Organisation.
The 2010 earthquake in Haiti killed tens of thousands of people, but the subsequent threat from disease had the potential to be far more deadly. Cholera is a waterborne disease that can kill within 48 hours, and it can be rife in post-disaster conditions. Working with MSF, Professor Huw Taylor created the first low-cost, on-site emergency disinfection process for cholera treatment centre wastewaters.
In addition, recent work in Africa, commissioned by UNICEF, demonstrated that well-designed sanitary surveys can play a pivotal role in providing low income countries with safe drinking water supplies. 402 wells and sanitation facilities were surveyed during the dry season and a further 479 during the wet season.
The results found that the water pumps often weren’t performing well enough in terms of water quality, especially during the wet season. The research led international water and sanitation charity, Pump Aid, to improve the design and siting of 300 new shallow wells in Malawi during 2013, with a further 1,500 to be commissioned by the end of 2015, serving a population of 180,000 people. The research in Malawi also led the organisation, WaterAid, to review its approach to water-quality testing in the country using the model developed by Brighton.