A system that can be used to monitor and transmit information on water quality, known as SISCLOR, was developed in Haiti in response to the cholera epidemic there. Several agencies collaborated in developing this tool, including the Information Management team of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Cluster, DINEPA (Haiti’s National Water Supply and Sanitation Authority), UNICEF, and PAHO/WHO.
SISCLOR uses the basic technology of transferring relevant data via text message on cell phones. The process works as follows: water samples are taken at supply points; the residual chlorine level is measured; and using a special, previously established code, information about the department, community, type of sample, residual chlorine value, service provider, etc., is transmitted.
In Haiti, the system has been used to collect information about water quality at public water supply points and from more than 900 households in temporary shelter sites. The information gathered can be transmitted rapidly for making decisions about improving drinking water services, technical operations, and the promotion of hygiene and sanitation.
The Haitian experience with SISCLOR has been shared with authorities in the Dominican Republic who are using it to strengthen surveillance of water quality in that country. A project using SISCLOR is planned for three provinces and nine municipalities of the Dominican Republic.
The simplicity of SISCLOR gives it great potential for producing quality information in real time. With this information, health authorities can reinforce both routine public health surveillance and monitoring during emergency and disaster situations.