Maia Fitzstevens joined the Aqueous Solutions team in 2016 as Sri Lanka Program Coordinator.
The epidemic of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a major public health issue in Sri Lanka. Disease prevalence is high among rural agricultural workers who rely on shallow groundwater as the only accessible drinking water source. Pathological reports suggest environmental toxins as the cause and current epidemiological analysis indicates multifactorial exposure to geogenic fluoride (F) and arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd), and agrichemical residues in food and water. Governments and public health agencies are seeking prevention strategies that provide clean water to areas relying on groundwater. The treatment method must simultaneously control multiple potential causative agents including trace organic contaminants, F, As, and Cd, presenting significant and unique challenges under typical village circumstances. The dispersed rural settlements and endemic poverty of CKD-affected regions in Sri Lanka necessitates provision of safe water by means that are low cost and decentralized, using technology implemented and sustainably maintained by locals.
Maia has worked with longstanding local public health NGOs, such as Sarvodaya, and grassroots citizens’ groups on the CKD epidemic in Sri Lanka since 2013. She began this work on a Fellowship in Community Health Research, and now serves as the Kidney Disease Prevention Project Coordinator for Sarvodaya USA. She holds a degree in Environmental Studies with a focus in Environmental Geochemistry from Wellesley College.