In the war against Ebola, health care workers on the front lines need personal protective equipment — overalls, gloves, goggles and boots; training on infection prevention and control; and plenty of something called HTH.
HTH stands for high test hypochlorite. It’s chlorine in concentrated granular form and so potent that, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only a few tablespoons in a 5-gallon bucket is sufficient to kill the Ebola virus and disinfect contaminated surfaces. The substance is often used to sanitize pools.
The downside is that HTH is volatile and can cause explosions. So instead of transporting the chlorine by plane—as was done with other Ebola response commodities—USAID arranged for a cargo ship to safely move more than 53 metric tons of HTH to Guinea and another 38 tons to Sierra Leone. Combined, that equals the weight of almost 70 compact cars.
The cargo ship arrived at Port of Conakry on Feb. 24, and the more than 9,700 drums of HTH were transferred by truck to a warehouse managed by the Central Pharmacy of Guinea to be distributed to health care facilities across the country.
From obtaining the the chlorine to ensuring its safe delivery to Guinea and Sierra Leone, USAID’s Ebola Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) played a crucial role in making sure this operation went off without a hitch.
In late February, USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance sent 53 tons of chlorine to Guinea by ocean freight rather than airlifting the supplies by plane due to safety protocols. / Allen Carney, USAID/OFDA
High test hypochlorite (HTH) is a concentrated form of chlorine; only a few tablespoons in 5 gallons of water are enough to kill the Ebola virus. But HTH is also volatile and can cause explosions. / Allen Carney, USAID/OFDA
Ebola Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) member Emily Betz Close lifts a 55-pound drum of highly concentrated chlorine. / Allen Carney, USAID/OFDA
In total, more than 9,700 drums of high test hypochlorite (HTH) were safely stored for further distribution to medical facilities across Guinea. / Allen Carney, USAID/OFDA.
Despite the back-breaking work, these warehouse workers manage to stay positive. USAID is happy to be working in partnership with Guinea in the fight against Ebola. / Allen Carney, USAID/OFDA