212050 Access and Consumption of Water and Vegetables in Rural Dominican Republic

Monday, November 9, 2009

Laura Tellechea, BS , Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Miami, Miller Schoolof Medicine, Miami, FL
Alberto J. Caban-Martinez, MPH , Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine - NIOSH Research Group, Miami, FL
Matt Wideroff, BS , Department of Medical Education, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL
Veronica Penyak, BS , Department of Medical Education, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL
Deepika Koganti, BS , Department of Medical Education, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL
MaryTery Fajardo, BS , Department of Medical Education, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL
Jatin Anand, BS , Department of Medical Education, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL
Stefania Prendes, BS , Department of Medical Education, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL
Steven Chavoustie, MD , Department of Medical Education, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL
Lora E. Fleming, MD, PhD , Department of Epidemiology & Public Health, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine - OHH Center and NIOSH Research Group, Miami, FL
INTRODUCTION: The Dominican Republic has been largely overlooked in terms of public health services in rural areas. No national health surveillance system exists for monitoring detailed community health in rural areas. We examine the general health status, access and consumption of water and vegetables in rural Dominican villages.

METHODS: Participants receiving care in an April 2009 medical trip to four rural villages in the Dominican Republic were invited to participate in an anonymous health questionnaire. Age, gender, height, weight, general health status, fruit and vegetable consumption, access to and sources of fresh water as well as the most common methods to store, transport and sanitize their water were collected and analyzed.

RESULTS: Among the 117 completed questionnaires, seventy-six self-reported being female (63.3%) with a sample mean age of 35.2 ( 16.1 standard deviation). Overall, 59.2% of the participants rated their general health as Fair and 22.5% as Good. While many participants consumed fruits, green salads, carrots and vegetables (≥ 90%) when available, approximately only 60% had access to them. Eighty percent had access to more than one source of water, while 44.2% and 58.3% use rain as the most common source of bathing and drinking water respectively. Lastly, 85.0% use chlorine to sanitize their drinking water, 75.8% transport it by foot, and 85.0% store it in plastic containers.

CONCLUSION: Health education programs that foster community garden growth and sustainability as well as enhancement of current water collection, transport, storage and sanitation methods in these rural communities is highly warranted.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the utility of a written questionnaire to assess water and food consumption levels among rural villages in the Dominican Republic. 2. List which food component (Fruits, Green Salads, Carrots and Vegetables) is most commonly consumed and which items are most accessed. 3. Evaluate which methods are most commonly used to store, transport and sanitize water sources in these rural villages. 4. Discuss the general health status of the villages as compared to their water and food sources.

Keywords: Water, Epidemiology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Paticipated in the design, implementation, data collection and abstract phases of the research work. Currently a public health student in training.
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.