Hands of Water? Sources of Contamination: A Field Study in Agew Gimjabet, a Town in the Highlands of Ethiopia
A household survey and water quality study was conducted in a town in the Ethiopian highlands that experienced an outbreak of AWD (acute watery diarrhea) in 2008. A multivariate regression model related to self-reported incidence of diarrhea created from household survey responses revealed that incidence was related to sanitary disposal of children’s feces under five, and to a hand washing station located near to the latrine. Risk factors varied by socio-economic status, in part, because hygiene behaviors were associated with socio-economic status. Analysis of water contamination via fecal coliform counting indicated household water contamination was significant and likely related to hand contact with water. Analysis of hand rinsing data indicated higher reduction in microbial contamination when soap is utilized during hand washing. Results suggest future interventions which emphasize improving household water quality by increasing the number of people who wash their hands with soap will reduce waterborne disease incidence.