Distance to Water Source and Diarrhea, Kenya

Nygren BL, O’Reilly CE, Rajasingham A, Omore R, Ombok M, Awuor AO, Jaron P, Moke F, Vulule J, Laserson K, Farag TH, Nasrin D, Nataro JP, Kotloff KL, Levine MM, Derado G, Ayers TL, Lash RR, Breiman RF, Mintz ED. The Relationship Between Distance to Water Source and Moderate-to-Severe Diarrhea in the Global Enterics Multi-Center Study in Kenya, 2008-2011. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2016 Feb 29. pii: 15-0393.

In the developing world, fetching water for drinking and other household uses is a substantial burden that affects water quantity and quality in the household. We used logistic regression to examine whether reported household water fetching times were a risk factor for moderate-to-severe diarrhea (MSD) using case-control data of 3,359 households from the Global Enterics Multi-Center Study in Kenya in 2009-2011. We collected additional global positioning system (GPS) data for a subset of 254 randomly selected households and compared GPS-based straight line and actual travel path distances to fetching times reported by respondents. GPS-based data were highly correlated with respondent-provided times (Spearman correlation coefficient = 0.81, P < 0.0001). The median estimated one-way distance to water source was 200 m for cases and 171 for controls (Wilcoxon rank sums/Mann-Whitney P = 0.21). A round-trip fetching time of > 30 minutes was reported by 25% of cases versus 15% of controls and was significantly associated with MSD where rainwater was not used in the last 2 weeks (odds ratio = 1.97, 95% confidence interval = 1.56-2.49). These data support the United Nations definition of access to an improved water source being within 30 minutes total round-trip travel time.

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