ACCESS TO SAFE DRINKING WATER AND WATER-BORNE DISEASES IN MASABA NORTH DISTRICT, KENYA

  • J. M. Nyagwencha, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya
  • J. W. Kaluli, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya
  • P. G. Home Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya
  • H. Murage Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi, Kenya
Keywords: Water treatment, boiling, chlorination, biosand filtration, solar disinfection

Abstract

Consumption of contaminated water is a major cause of illness in the world and particularly in rural communities,
especially in developing countries like Kenya. The objectives of this cross-sectional study were to evaluate access
to safe drinking water, water purification techniques and water-borne disease incidence in Masaba North District.
Some 100 households were randomly selected with structured interview questions being administered to 25
households in each of the four divisions in the District. Water testing was carried out in a make-shift laboratory
using the Oxfam DelAgua kit to determine the number of E. coli colony forming unity (CFU) per 100ml while a hach
turbidimeter was used to measure water turbidity. It was found that a high percentage of the households had
access to ‘improved’ water sources including protected springs (79%) with 64% of the households boiling their
water before consumption.. Only 17% of the households had access to water free from fecal contamination. The
most effective method of purification was Biosand filtration which provided 57% reduction in turbidity and 92%
reduction in E. coli. Out of the 100 households, 20% households indicated that at least one member of the
household had suffered from water-borne diseases in the past year. Whereas many households can easily access
improved water sources, access to safe drinking water was still a major challenge. Further more, water from
“protected sources” was not necessarily safe for drinking. There was inconsistent and inadequate utilization of
water purification techniques leading to consumption of contaminated water even after purification had been
carried out.

Published
2019-05-16