Analyzing the Connections Among Water Access, Sanitation, Malaria and Diarrhea Outcomes in Rural Central Uganda

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Hu, Michael


Ariely, Sumedha
Broverman, Sherryl A.
Admay, Catherine A.

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Access to safe water and sanitation around the world has increased significantly in the past few decades. The United Nations claims that 91% of the world’s population has access to safe water, exceeding the Millennium Development Goal for water access. Yet, some evidence in the literature suggests that safe water and sanitation access is overestimated, as the common indicator used to estimate safe water is infrastructural. The usage of water, behaviors surrounding water acquisition and storage, and possible contamination along the source to point-of-use continuum is poorly understood. This cross-sectional epidemiological study used a combination of surveying, mapping and bacteriological water testing to identify some of the possible factors in water contamination, and relationships with malaria and diarrhea burden, in a parish in Central Uganda. Secondary goals included assessing the burden of malaria and diarrhea in the parish, and assessing the use of mapping and water testing as field research tools. The survey included questions on water acquisition and usage behavior, sanitary conditions, knowledge of diarrhea, and malaria and diarrhea burden. In this parish, 126 households across 9 villages were randomly chosen to be surveyed, mapped and water tested. All water sources in the parish were additionally mapped and water tested. Across all water sources, including piped water, the water quality at the household point-of-use level was drastically worse than quality measured at the source. In fact, among all water sources, piped water recipients showed the highest average bacterial loads, despite the clean quality of the source itself. Possible factors in lowering or raising contamination, as displayed by regression results, include the frequency of obtaining water and distance from the water source respectively. The malaria and diarrhea case sample size proved smaller than expected, and challenges remain in using mapping and water testing in the field. These results support the theories that the amount of people with access to safe water is overestimated, and that contamination exists along the source to point-of-use continuum. More research is needed to investigate the exact points of contamination in the spectrum and possible contaminating factors.




Global Health, Epidemiology, Water, Sanitation, Malaria, Diarrhea



Hu, Michael (2016). Analyzing the Connections Among Water Access, Sanitation, Malaria and Diarrhea Outcomes in Rural Central Uganda. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from

Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.