Date of this Version

2002

Document Type

Article

Abstract

This project studied the frequency and of water contamination at the source, during transportation, and at home to determine the causes of contamination and its impact on the health of children aged 0 to 5 years. The methods used were construction of the infrastructure for three sources of potable water, administration of a questionnaire about socioeconomic status and sanitation behavior, anthropometric measurement of children, and analysis of water and feces. The contamination, first thought to be only a function of rainfall, turned out to be a very complex phenomenon. Water in homes was contaminated (43.4%) with more than 1100 total coliforms/100 ml due to the use of unclean utensils to transport and store water. This socio-economic and cultural problem should be ad- dressed with health education about sanitation, The latrines (found in 43.8% of families) presented a double-edged problem. The extremely high population density reduced the surface area of land per family, which resulted in a severe nutritional deficit (15% of the children) affecting mainly young children, rendering them more susceptible to diarrhea (three episodes/child/year).

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