202865 Domestic spousal violence against women and drinking water source: Findings from a national survey in Democratic Republic of Congo

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 9:10 AM

A. Elisabeth Sommerfelt, MD , Global Health, Population and Nutrition Group, Academy for Educational Developement, Washington, DC
Doyin Oluwole, MD , Africa's Health in 2010 project, Academy for Educational Development, Washington, DC
Reena Borwankar, MS , Africa's Health in 2010 project, Academy for Educational Development, Washington, DC
The 2007 nationally representative Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (D.R. Congo), was funded by USAID through Macro International's MEASURE/DHS Program. The survey (implemented by Ministry of Plan, Government of D.R. Congo) gathered information about issues affecting women's health, namely fertility, mortality, family planning, maternal-child health, water and sanitation, and included the domestic violence module. Survey respondents were women aged 15-49 years; about 2500 ever-married women were selected for and answered questions about various forms of violence from their spouse (or a partner they lived with).

Surface water (river, spring, lake) is the household drinking water source for two-thirds of women; ~10% have water piped into the house/yard; 17% use public tap or borewell; and 7% use a well. Violence levels were high: overall, 64% had experienced physical/sexual violence from their spouse. Differentials were generally small by characteristics such as urban-rural residence, age, education, and poverty/wealth index. Differences in violence level according to drinking water source were not statistically significant (piped 62%; public tap or borewell 63%; well 66%; surface water 64%). However, average time to collect water was somewhat longer for women who experienced violence (34 minutes) than those who did not (29 minutes) (p=0.001).

Improved access to drinking water would reduce the burden on women and contribute to improved health. Because violence levels are high in all population sub-groups, policies and interventions to address domestic spousal violence need to reach all segments of society.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the magnitude of spousal domestic violence against women in D.R. Congo 2. Discuss whether there is an association between violence and source of drinking water 3. Discuss the need for policies and interventions to reach all segments of society

Keywords: Family Violence, Water

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Pediatrician who has worked extensively for over 25 years with colleagues in Africa and Asia on topics related to maternal and child health, nutrition, and domestic violence against women; conducted the analysis; have no conflict of interest.
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.