200726 Protection of Public Health and Capacity Development for Rural Water System in Gales Point, Belize - An Environmental Health Service Learning Project

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 8:30 AM

Ritchie D. Taylor, PhD , Dept. of Public Health, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY
Shabbar Ranapurwala, BHMS, MPH , Department of Public Health, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY
Matthew Hill, BS, MPH , Department of Public Health, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY
Belize is a country in Central America, formerly British Honduras, located south of Mexico and east of Guatemala on the Yucatan Peninsula. As part of the WKU International Health and Human Service Learning Program, an assessment of the local water supply in Gales Point, Belize was conducted. Gales Point is a small rural village located on the Caribbean Sea coast of Belize. Belize is a developing country thus access to safe drinking water can be problematic, as was observed on the local scale. The lack of technical, managerial and financial capacity coupled with the rural location of the village, create water resource management challenges. The service learning program provided medical, dental, and environmental health services to the community. The environmental health team has collected source water and drinking water samples over a three year period. Quamina Creek, the sole source of public water for this community has been found to be contaminated with fecal coliform bacteria and E. coli. This water is pumped directly into homes completely untreated. The overarching purpose of the drinking water assessment was for the environmental health team to identify possible solutions for the protection and provision of safe drinking water to rural villages in Belize. Working with the Ministry of Health, Water Quality Branch, the environmental health team is developing strategies for capacity development of rural water systems in Belize from the national to village scale.

Learning Objectives:
To ensure the protection of Public Health by providing safe drinking water to the people of Gales Point, Belize by 2011 Identify and implement components of rural water system plan Develop strategies for capacity development for rural water system in Gales Point, Belize To increase community awareness and involvement for the protecion of watershed in Gales Point, Belize

Keywords: Drinking Water Quality, International Public Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was a part of the environmental health team at the International Health & Human Services program to Belize in 2009. I have been working on developing strategies for capacity development for the rural community of Gales Point, Belize and helping to come up with a rural water system plan. I have MPH degree with concentration in environmental health and a have been working as an intern with the Kentucky Department of Environmental Protection and collecting water samples and doing baseline testing and working on the database previously collected.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.