Health Education To Villages

Home Programmes Resources India Partners Site Map About Us Contact Us

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
 CDC Home Search Health Topics A-Z
Foodborne and Diarrheal Diseases BranchLink Online to Foodborne and Diarrheal Diseases BranchCDC MenuSafe Water System Menu

Menu Heading: FoodNet Information
What is the Safe Water System (SWS)?
Why was the SWS developed?
Who is the SWS for?
Where has the Safe Water System (SWS) been used?
How is a SWS started?

Menu Heading: FoodNet Reports & Studies
Handbook for SWS Implementation
Publications & Abstracts

Menu Heading: Additional Information concerning FoodNet
Related Links
Contact Us

Menu Heading: Additional Information concerning FoodNet
Epi Info Software
EZ-Text Software
Principles of Epi
SWS Video

Where has the Safe Water System been used?

Project Partners

  • CDC
  • PSI
  • Ministry of Health/Central Board of Health/District Health Management Team
  • CARE
  • Rotary Club of Estes Park, Colorado

Target population/location

  • Parents with children under five years
  • Primarily low income urban areas
  • Implementation is on a national scale


Project design

  • Field trial in Kitwe, followed by pilot social marketing project in 3 compounds in Lusaka and 3 compounds in Kitwe, and Ndola. Following successful pilot, the social marketing campaign has expanded to all provinces of Zambia.

Intervention elements

  • Sodium hypochlorite disinfectant produced locally by PSI, using appropriate technology. The brand name is CLORIN.
  • Locally available plastic 2.5-liter, 5-liter, and 20-liter jerry cans for water storage
  • Social marketing of CLORIN at subsidized price

Project implementation start date

  • October 1998

Results of project evaluation

  • Field trial: A water quality intervention that combines point-of-use water treatment, safe water storage vessels, and community education was field tested in Zambia. A total of 166 intervention households and 94 control households were randomly selected. Baseline surveys were conducted and the intervention distributed. Active diarrhea surveillance was conducted weekly, water was tested for chlorine residuals biweekly, and a follow-up survey was conducted. Intervention households exhibited high compliance: 97% reported using disinfectant and between 72% and 95% had measurable total chlorine residuals in their water. The percentage of intervention households storing water safely increased from 48% to 89%. Escherichia coli contamination of stored water was detected in a lower percentage of intervention households than control households (p<0.001). Residents of intervention households had diarrhea rates that were 48% of the rates among controls (95% confidence interval=0.3, 0.9).
  • Social marketing trial: In late 1998, PSI began a social marketing campaign of CLORIN the Safe Water System in several communities in Zambia. To evaluate the campaign, we conducted cross-sectional studies. Systematic random samples of households were selected in three periurban communities; households were interviewed about demographics, water use and storage, water disinfection practices (CLORIN), diarrhea prevalence, and knowledge about diarrhea. Stored household water was tested for the presence of total and free chlorine residual. The percentage of households using a narrow-mouth container to store drinking water ranged from 20% to 87%. Over 90% of all study households had heard of CLORIN. Current use was highest (78%) in households that had recently received motivational interviewing in addition to social marketing; these households also had the lowest 2-week period prevalence of diarrhea (7%). In one community, households with lower estimated wealth were less likely to have ever used CLORIN (p=0.01) or to be using it on the day of interview (p=0.01). Clorin is a seasonal product, used more often in the rainy season when diarrhea and cholera outbreaks are more likely to occur. National annual sales are 400,000-500,000 bottles. Since more households reported having ever used Clorin than reported currently using it, we suspect that CLORIN may be a seasonal product.


  • CDC safe water vessel to be test-marketed in Zambia starting first quarter 2001
  • PSI is exploring the possibility of contracting with a private company to take over production of Clorin in Zambia

For more information




Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Infectious Diseases
Division of Bacterial and Mycotic Diseases
Foodborne and Diarrheal Diseases Branch

 The Mother and Child Health and Education Trust top of page