Assessment of level at which safe water chain is interrupted and associated factors in Rukungiri District
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Introduction: Contaminated drinking water is a risk to diseases in developing and developed countries. A water quality survey done in two sub-counties in Rukungiri found a higher level of coliforms in the water at household level than at the water source i.e. total coliform count ranging between 200-to numerous to count and faecal coliform count of 500-to numerous to count. This implies that there is contamination of water along the water chain sometime after the water source. Objectives: Generally we set out to assess the level at which safe water chain is interrupted and the associated factors in Rukungiri district and specifically to determine the level of water chain at which water gets contaminated, to identify the practices at different levels of water chain that lead to deterioration of water quality, and to assess the respondent’s knowledge on a safe water chain Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in Rukungiri District. Water sources and households formed the study population with women as the primary study units. Two sub-counties (Nyakishenyi and Nyarushanje) and 25 protected water sources were purposively selected and then 217 households randomly selected. Quantitative and qualitative data was collected using semi-structured data tools and observation checklists respectively. Data analysis was done using STATA version 8.2 and Microsoft excel version 2003. Logistic regression analysis was used to control for confounding, there was no interaction or effect modification Results: The levels at which water gets contaminated were; collection at the source, during transportation, storage and consumption. Contamination increased 11-12 times between water source and storage. Practices that lead to water contamination were; using dirty collecting container (OR 6.42, 95% CI 1.27-32.53), Transporting water in uncovered containers (OR 3.87, 95% CI 1.15-13.01), Storing water in uncovered containers (OR 10.04, 95% CI 2.95-34.01), Presence of children below 5 years in a household (OR 11.79, 95% CI 1.05-13.4). Using narrow-mouthed containers to store drinking water was associated with less contamination (OR 0.1, 95% CI 0.01-0.95). Only 51.2% of the respondents had been exposed to messages on a safe water chain. Conclusion: These findings confirm that a safe water chain is interrupted from source to the level of point-of-use, the household. Use of dirty collecting containers, transporting water in uncovered containers, storing water in uncovered containers and presence of children below 5 years are some of the factors that lead to water quality deterioration at different levels of the chain. Safe water messages have not been disseminated to all water users. The District should therefore design simple information, education and communication materials on the different measures used to ensure safety of water along the chain. The water chain levels are; Source (a point at which water is collected), collection (the act or process of allowing or filling a collecting container with water at the source), transportation (a process of carrying a container filled with water collected from a source to the point-of-use), storage (water intended to be used at is kept in a storage container at the point-of-use) and consumption (the act or process of utilizing water at the point-of-use)
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