Socio-economic factors influencing the spread of drinking water diseases in rural Africa: case study of Bondo sub-county, Kenya

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Socio-economic and medical information on Bondo sub-county community was studied to help establish the relationship between the water quality challenges, community health and water rights conditions. Health challenges have been linked to water quality and household income. A total of 1,510 households/respondents were studied by means of a questionnaire. About 69% of the households have no access to treated water. Although 92% of the respondents appear to be aware that treatment of water prevents waterborne diseases, the lowest income group and children share a high burden of waterborne diseases requiring hospitalization and causing mortality. Open defecation (12.3%) in these study areas contributes to a high incidence of waterborne diseases. The community's constitutional rights to quality water in adequate quantities are greatly infringed. The source of low-quality water is not a significant determinant of waterborne disease. The differences in poverty level in the sub-county are statistically insignificant and contribute less than other factors. Increased investment in water provision across regions, improved sanitation and availability of affordable point-of-use water purification systems will have major positive impacts on the health and economic well-being of the community.

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