Online Program

Building sustainable water and sanitation infrastructure to improve health status of northern laotians

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 1:10 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Arti Desai, MPH, PhD(s), Department of Global Health School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Ryan Gene Gaia Sinclair, PhD, MPH, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Loma Linda University School of Public Health, Loma Linda, CA
D. Scott Rawson, BS, Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA Lao PDR), Vientiane, Laos
Thelma Gamboa, DrPH, School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Access to potable water, environmental latrines and health awareness are considered to be areas of critical development in the northern Laos Province of Oudomxay. Presently, villages in this region still lack access to basic resources. It was these very resources that Laos lacks that began the ‘sanitary revolution' in other countries 150 years ago. Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (WaSH) for health is a health promotion project that utilizes a two prong approach in rural populations. Needs and assets assessment data was initially used to understand the health determinants underlying the poor health of local villagers. Strategic, technical, and infrastructure support was then incorporated to construct water supply systems. A qualitative community-based approach was then used to study eight villages. Key informant interviews with village chiefs (n= 8) and focus groups with villagers (n= 371) were conducted. Community maps were created by villagers to identify the number and location of health centers, water, toilets, and schools in each village. A prioritization chart was used to reduce each village's concerns to the top three. The focus group questions concentrated on sources of income, health practices, water collection methods, latrine facilities, and village expectations. The data findings were analyzed using grounded theory methods which resulted in emerging themes. Northern Laotians identified and prioritized 1) clean water, 2) latrines, and 3) fully functional health centers as their top three needs. Baseline results are presently being used to plan and create a culturally appropriate health intervention and to mobilize the community and local health agencies to build sustainable infrastructure to support proper sanitation. This evaluation serves to validate infrastructure sustainability for sanitary latrines, clean water systems, and health education. The WaSH project will ultimately create an effective, competitive, and sustainable model based on identified needs for improving health status and poverty.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Environmental health sciences
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Explain the relationships between health and water and sanitation infrastructure in the rural Northern Oudomxay Province of Laos. Describe the importance of using a community-based participatory approach in gathering appropriate community identified issues to creating sustainable interventions.

Keyword(s): Environmental Health, Sustainability

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator and author on this project.
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.