Water in Africa

RCSI professor awarded prestigious UNESCO prize

  • Society

RCSI’s commitment to research excellence is founded on global partnerships and the transfer of knowledge to communities, enabling our researchers to address some of today's biggest healthcare challenges.

This reputation for excellence is personified by Professor Kevin McGuigan, who was awarded the prestigious UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences for his ongoing research into the development and implementation of solar water disinfection technology (SODIS) to combat waterborne diseases among people without access to safe drinking water in Africa and Asia.

As Director of the RCSI Solar Disinfection Research Group, Professor McGuigan’s pioneering approach to research, in both the laboratory and in the field, is having a profound impact on the communities most exposed to waterborne diseases in developing countries.

Watch the video about Prof. McGuigan's work

Professor McGuigan’s research group has demonstrated the positive impact of using SODIS on childhood diarrhoea and dysentery. SODIS has since demonstrated its effectiveness against all major waterborne pathogens.

There is enough fresh water on the planet for everybody, but due to insufficient financial resources, bad infrastructure and poor education, every year millions of people suffer diseases associated with unsafe water supply.

Professor McGuigan also coordinates WATERSPOUTT – a project established to utilise innovative technology to provide affordable access to safe drinking water in remote and vulnerable communities throughout Sub-Saharan Africa and other resource-poor countries – and is the research coordinator for PANIWATER, a four-year project that is developing six prototypes that will be deployed in rural and peri-urban areas in India. By developing these prototypes in households that are vulnerable to waterborne diseases, the programme is making strides in providing clean drinking water to those without access to this fundamental resource.

RCSI is committed to achieving a better and more sustainable future through the UN Sustainable Development Goals.