Tag Archives: Kenya

“…desert locusts in a swarm the size of Manhattan…” are destroying crops in East Africa

“Across Somalia, desert locusts in a swarm the size of Manhattan have destroyed a swath of farmland as big as Oklahoma,” the Wall Street Journal’s Nicholas Bariyo reports. “In Kenya, billions-strong clouds of the insects have eaten through 800 square miles of crops and survived a weeks-long spraying campaign. They have “swept across more than 10 nations on two continents.” In parts of East Africa they “are destroying some 1.8 million metric tons of vegetation every day, enough food to feed 81 million people.”  click here

Sanitary Surveys can identify potential hazards, Kenya

Misati AG, Ogendi G, Peletz R, Khush R, Kumpel E. Can Sanitary Surveys Replace Water Quality Testing? Evidence from Kisii, Kenya. International journal of environmental research and public health. 2017 Feb 7;14(2). pii: E152. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14020152.

Information about the quality of rural drinking wateR sources can be used to manage their safety and mitigate risks to health. Sanitary surveys, which are observational checklists to assess hazards present at water sources, are simpler to conduct than microbial tests. We assessed whether sanitary survey results were associated with measured indicator bacteria levels in rural drinking water sources in Kisii Central, Kenya. Overall, thermotolerant coliform (TTC) levels were high: all of the samples from the 20 tested dug wells, almost all (95%) of the samples from the 25 tested springs, and 61% of the samples from the 16 tested rainwater harvesting systems were contaminated with TTC. There were no significant associations between TTC levels and overall sanitary survey scores or their individual components. Contamination by TTC was associated with source type (dug wells and springs were more contaminated than rainwater systems). While sanitary surveys cannot be substituted for microbial water quality results in this context, they could be used to identify potential hazards and contribute to a comprehensive risk management approach.

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.

Improving Microbial Quality of Drinking Water Sources

Grady CA, Kipkorir EC, Nguyen K, Blatchley ER 3rd. Microbial quality of improved drinking water sources: evidence from western Kenya and southern Vietnam. Journal of Water and Health. 2015 Jun;13(2):607-612.

In recent decades, more than 2 billion people have gained access to improved drinking water sources thanks to extensive effort from governments, and public and private sector entities. Despite this progress, many water sector development interventions do not provide access to safe water or fail to be sustained for long-term use. The authors examined drinking water quality of previously implemented water improvement projects in three communities in western Kenya and three communities in southern Vietnam. The cross-sectional study of 219 households included measurements of viable Escherichia coli. High rates of E. coli prevalence in these improved water sources were found in many of the samples. These findings suggest that measures above and beyond the traditional ‘improved source’ definition may be necessary to ensure truly safe water throughout these regions.

Willingness to Pay for a New Gravity-Driven Membrane Filter, Kenya

Brouwer R, Job FC, van der Kroon B, Johnston R. Comparing Willingness to Pay for Improved Drinking-Water Quality Using Stated Preference Methods in Rural and Urban Kenya. Applied Health Economics and Health Policy. 2014 Nov 8.

BACKGROUND: Access to safe drinking water has been on the global agenda for decades. The key to safe drinking water is found in household water treatment and safe storage systems.

OBJECTIVE: In this study, we assessed rural and urban household demand for a new gravity-driven membrane (GDM)drinking-water filter.

METHODS: A choice experiment (CE) was used to assess the value attached to the characteristics of a new GDM filter before marketing in urban and rural Kenya. The CE was followed by a contingent valuation (CV) question. Differences in willingness to pay (WTP) for the same filter design were tested between methods, as well as urban and rural samples.

RESULTS: The CV follow-up approach produces more conservative and statistically more efficient WTP values than the CE, with only limited indications of anchoring. The effect of the new filter technology on children with diarrhea is among the most important drivers behind choice behavior and WTP in both areas. The urban sample is willing to pay more in absolute terms than the rural sample irrespective of the valuation method. Rural households are more price sensitive, and willing to pay more in relative terms compared with disposable household income.

CONCLUSION: A differentiated marketing strategy across rural and urban areas is expected to increase uptake and diffusion of the new filter technology.

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Social capital and drinking water access

Affordable energy and drinking water availability go hand-in-hand. Studies such as this do not consider the prevailing attitudes, policies, and availability of affordable energy. This work may provide some insight but is inadequate.

Meaningful progress to improve availability and access to drinking water will not be made until the connection between energy, power, and water are properly acknowledged and considered.

Bisung E, Elliott SJ, Schuster-Wallace CJ, Karanja DM, Bernard A. Social capital, collective action and access to water in rural Kenya. Soc Sci Med. 2014 Jul 30;119C:147-154. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.07.060.

Globally, an estimated 748 million people remain without access to improved sources of drinking water and close to 1 billion people practice open defecation (WHO/UNICEF, 2014). The lack of access to safe water and adequate sanitation presents significant health and development challenges to individuals and communities, especially in low and middle income countries. Recent research indicates that aside from financial challenges, the lack of social capital is a barrier to collective action for community based water and sanitation initiatives (Levison et al., 2011; Bisung and Elliott, 2014). This paper reports results of a case study on the relationships between elements of social capital and participation in collective action in the context of addressing water and sanitation issues in the lakeshore village of Usoma, Western Kenya. The paper uses household data (N = 485, 91% response rate) collected using a modified version of the social capital assessment tool (Krishna and Shrader, 2000). Findings suggest that investment in building social capital may have some contextual benefits for collective action to address common environmental challenges. These findings can inform policy interventions and practice in water and sanitation delivery in low and middle income countries, environmental health promotion and community development.

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Atieli et al 2011: Assessment of water storage, treatment and use in the semi arid Kimana area, Oloitokitok district, Kenya.

H. Atieli, J.H. Magara, S. Bibi, K. Huber, A. Riner, M. Steeves, and A. Whilhelm. Assessment of water storage, treatment and use in the semi arid Kimana area, Oloitokitok district, Kenya. East Afr J Public Health. 2010 Dec;7(4):331-7.

Moi University, P.O Box 4606, Eldoret, Kenya.

Objectives: This study sought to identify the methods and associations of water storage, treatment and use among residents in the Kimana Fenced Area, Oloitokitok, Kenya for comparison with current best practices in order to develop recommendations to improve water sanitation issues in this area.

Methods: In a cross-sectional study design, 330 households were randomly selected and interviewed on water storage, treatment, and use practices.

Results: Eighty two percent of observed containers met CDC guidelines for improved water storage containers. Fifty seven percent of survey respondents reported not treating their drinking water, of which 49% indicated that they believed the water was already clean. Logistic regression showed that people who believed their water was unsafe were twice more likely to treat their water than those who perceived their water to be somewhat safe (p = 0.058). Those living outside the furrows were 56% less likely to treat their water in the home compared to those living along the furrow (p = 0.023). Respondents with a pastoral lifestyle were 69% less likely to treat their water than those with a non-pastoral lifestyle (p = .009). In terms of tribe, the largest treatment disparity was noted amongst the Maasai, with only 37.7% reporting any form of treatment.

Conclusion: Tribe, pastoral lifestyle, proximity to the furrow and socio-economic status were found to contribute to water storage method and treatment within the Kimana fence. It is critical that these factors be addressed in future water storage and treatment interventions in this area.

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