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Article Number: EC/2014/006


Topic: Public Health


Access to safe drinkable water has improved over the last decades in almost every part of the world, but approximately one billion people in Africa still lack access to safe water and over 2.5 billion lack access to adequate sanitation. In large parts of the world, humans have inadequate access to potable water and use sources contaminated with disease vectors, pathogens or unacceptable levels of toxins or suspended solids. Drinking or using such water in food preparation leads to widespread acute or chronic illnesses and it is a major cause of death and misery in many countries. As such prevention of water borne diseases is a major health goal in developing countries (Fawell J & Chipman K, 2010).

The health burden of poor water quality is enormous with an estimated 37.7million individuals affected by water-borne diseases; annually 1.5 million children are estimated to die from diarrheal-related diseases each year (WHO, 2012).

The developing countries in the world still face the problem of water scarcity with Africa having the largest number of countries encountering these problems. Due to water scarcity, many families tend to store water in their home for long term use. Most families have inadequate knowledge or are ignorant on the duration of the storage and the type of container or vessel used in the collection and storage of drinkable water.

Inhabitants in Santa town in North West region of Cameroon experience inherent episodes of water shortages all round the year prompting household to fetch, store and consume water from doubtful sources.

A study was carried out to assess the knowledge and practices of the inhabitants of Santa town in the collection and preservation of potable water in order to avert the occurrence of water-borne diseases. 

Primary data was collected with the use of a structured questionnaire with open and close-ended questions, administered by the researcher and co-researchers to the study population in the randomly selected quarters using cluster sampling. A sample size of 110 households was recruited for the study.

Results show that  68 (58.18%) of respondents defined drinkable water as water safe enough to be consumed with low risk of harm, 24 (21.8%) defined it as water which originates from pipe borne water while 16 (14.5%) said that it is water from any natural source.

On the criteria used in the identification of unsafe water, 68 (58.18%) said they identified water which is not safe for drinking from its color, taste and odor; on the issue of water protection and preservation from contaminants, 58(52.7%) of the responses were that they lacked containers for their drinking water, 32(29.5%) said they lacked chemicals and filters to treat their water, while 14(12.9%) did not have knowledge in the protection and preservation of potable water while 06 (5.5%) said that the problem they encountered was the presence of children playing around drinkable water sources and water storage containers.

From the data collected, and analysis made it be can be concluded that there exist inadequate knowledge on the protection and preservation of potable water. Their understanding of the notions of hygiene and sanitation, the knowledge and practices on the collection and preservation of potable water are not based on the level of education but on how much public health information they got about drinking water collection, treatment and preservation. So, an up-to-date, knowledge and practices on the collection, treatment and preservation of potable water is necessary for the wellbeing of the Santa community. The Council’s hygiene and sanitation service should take it as duty function to organize regular public health education lectures in social institutions in order to enlighten the community.




    COMMENT - 1

  • ANNA KADAA GWANFOGBE (Viewer) 29th Jan 2015 - 3:45 AM
    This is a good work, and as it said "water is life" so humans must get the best. Well I think not only the council of Santa should be involve in this but also the delegation and why not the ministry of public health.

  • COMMENT - 2

  • OLALEKAN WASIU ADEBIMPE (Viewer) 29th Jan 2015 - 4:07 AM
    Good study
    (1) abstract too long. Most journals wants about 300 words maximum
    (2) Abstract should not contain reference. Kindly remove them
    (3) The results had no conclusion or recommendations.
    Conclusion of study also appear too long, and should be concise
    The non use of tables made some of the findings to look like orphaned. You may have to contact some of the figures into Tables, and even merge some of them

  • COMMENT - 3

  • SAHILA PEERBHAI (Viewer) 29th Jan 2015 - 3:17 PM
    Interesting and relevant study. I think if the study includes the water borne diseases names as well as which acute and chronic illnesses the author is referring to it will be more informative. If there is some comparison with other countries in the region and the steps the countries are taking in this context it would help in solutions.Thanks

  • COMMENT - 4

  • ABDULLAHI BUKAR (Viewer) 29th Jan 2015 - 9:46 PM
    This is a common episodes in our settlement and therefore the need for more communication strategies plan to create awareness tour populous to ensure they know the benefits of key household practices.
    Use of Mass media and other avenues for dissemination of information on the benefit of safer way of hygiene and sanitation is highly recommended.

  • COMMENT - 5

  • REGINA EROMOMEN OWHE (Viewer) 30th Jan 2015 - 2:12 PM
    Good work, the strategic plan should be implemented in rural area that is where the problems lies mostly