Water and Health in Stefanesti
The village of Stefanesti holds a special day each year to bless the wells that provide water to the community. Today only one well in the village is considered to have clean water, although it has not been thoroughly tested. In some wells, the water is too salty to drink; other wells contain high levels of nitrates from agricultural runoff.
During our visit to Stefanesti, we asked several students how the lack of clean water in their village has affected their lives. Two 16-year-old girls told us that several years ago they became infected with hepatitis A. One stayed in the hospital for two weeks. Her classmates were afraid to come near her for fear they would become infected. The other girl developed kidney problems due to the disease, and she still receives frequent treatments to address this condition.
The village’s medical assistant confirmed that in 2005, 50 cases of hepatitis A appeared suddenly among village youth. While this disease is commonly considered the “hepatitis of dirty hands,” poor hygiene did not seem to be the culprit in this case. The family doctor from the nearest town came to investigate the situation. He sampled the well water and discovered hepatitis A. Chloride was used to kill the virus, and city hall provided covers for the wells. However, this solution is only temporary. The medical assistant told us that they want to investigate the situation further and find a permanent solution.
The mayor of Stefanesti, standing near a bluff overlooking a valley near the village, spoke with pride about the potential for tourism here, and with frustration about the lack of resources to clean up the water. A 15-year-old male student echoed these sentiments, speaking of the beautiful scenery around his village and lamenting the fact that most young people eventually have no choice but to leave because of the poor water quality.
Stefanesti needs resources to clean up their water and provide a better future for their young people. If you can help, please do.
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