E. coli contaminated drinking water in rural Uganda: Using results to make an impact
In January 2006, I worked with Community Based Integrated Nutrition (COBIN) to perform water quality testing and design & distribute health questionnaires to 40 households in the Lyantonde and Kiruhura districts of rural Uganda. Two types of water microbiology tests were used to test families' drinking water for E.coli contamination: the Colilert MPN Test made by IDEXX Laboratories (presence/absence test) and the E.coli Count Petrifilm made by the 3M Company (quantification of E.coli). 46 total water samples were taken directly from homes. Over 90% of unboiled water samples were contaminated with E.coli. All samples from rainwater collection tanks were negative for E.coli. There were boiled samples that were positive for E.coli, most likely because after boiling the water, it was poured back into the same container that the water was collected with. This showed the need for multiple interventions. In January 2007, additional water testing was performed (samples taken straight from the source), and we provided clean clay pots with covers for water storage to village health workers at workshops titled "Home-based water purification trainings."