For the WHO-EURO project “Small and safe: scaling-up water safety planning and effective water quality monitoring in rural Tajikistan”, Harold van den Berg (RIVM) visited the five Sanitary Epidemiology and Surveillance (SES) district laboratories different rayons to make an inventory of the current practices, equipment and methodologies.

On April 5 2017, after visiting the SES laboratories, a meeting was held in Dushanbe to discuss the minimal set of parameters to be tested and what capacity (equipment and training) was needed. Based on this meeting a suggestion of parameters, materials and media was made and purchased. See workshop Water Quality Monitoring WHO-Euro in Tajikistan

The next step was to provide a practical training on Water Quality Monitoring for the selected SES laboratories, where they could use the purchased equipment and are confident to use it at their laboratories.
From 10 – 15 July, WHO-Euro and Ministry of Health organised a workshop in Dushanbe:

  • High-level meeting on water-related diseases and WQ surveillance (10 and 11 July)
  • Practical training on water quality monitoring (12 – 15 July)

The high-level meeting was organised for heads and technicians of national, regional and rayon SES. During the meeting presentations were given on the following topics:

  • Waterborne infectious diseases & water quality testing (Harold van den Berg)
  • Risk-based water quality monitoring & parameter prioritization (Oliver Schmoll and Arnt Diener – WHO-Euro)

After the workshop, Harold van den Berg continued with a practical training for laboratory technicians of the five selected rayons. Also other laboratories were interested in the practical training, resulting in a total of 20 participants from 12 different laboratories.   

The aim of the training was that the participants are capable of independently carrying out the following activities linked to water quality monitoring:

  • Prepare for and perform sampling at different drinking water points (surveillance)
  • Perform analyses of basic physico-chemical parameters (Free residual chlorine, Temperature, pH, turbidity, nitrate)
  • Perform microbiological analysis of E.coli, using membrane filtration

The training was very successful and participants are now able to carry out the activities as mentioned above. Because the five selected rayons (Varzob, Fayzerbad, Aini, Danghara and Farkhor) received all materials and media directly after the training, they can start testing drinking water samples in the coming months. The next step, later in 2017, is a visit to the five district laboratories of SES, to evaluate the use of the new methods and if needed some additional training.