Online Program

Toilet to Tap: Qualitative study to assess water quality and sanitation services to inform the implementation of a novel waste water initiative in rural Mexico

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Melawhy Garcia, MPH, Graduate School of Public Health, Institute for Behavioral and Community Health, San Diego State University, Chula Vista, CA
Jared Jashinsky, MPH, Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
Hala Madanat, PhD, Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA
Orianna Bretschger, PhD, J. Craig Venter Institute, La Jolla, CA
Miguel Fraga, MD, Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, Baja California, Mexico
Background: The majority of those without improved sanitation and water services are poorer people living in rural areas. One rural area in need of improved water availability and sanitation facilities is colonia Vicente Guerrero in Baja California. The purpose of the study was to gather qualitative data to inform the plans to implement a waste water sanitation project.

Methods: The PRECEDE component of the PRECEDE-PROCEED model was used to develop the semi-structured focus group guide and organize the findings. Three focus groups were conducted with 21 adults, aged 21-53 years, living in the colonia to explore: sanitation knowledge and practices, water availability and quality, and attitudes and perceptions towards waste water.

Results: Water availability and quality were a main concern. Residents receive unscheduled yellow colored, highly salinized, pipe water at odd hours, leaving many without water. The environment was also a major issue. Primarily, the lack of sanitation facilities, open defecation, and poor waste management. Participants also expressed feelings of insecurity due to loitering and vandalism. Besides having little or no knowledge, participants were open to the installation of a waste water system. Participants were eager to learn about the installation and provided valuable insight for placement, maintenance and security.

Conclusions: Focus groups provided rich insight to current conditions of water quality and availability as well as lack of sanitation practices. The findings indicate the urgent need to improve water and sanitation services as well health education and policies to improve living conditions and overall health in the colonia.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related research
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe the use of the PRECEDE-PROCEDE framework to formulate qualitative research questions and collect data regarding the lack of improved water sanitation facilities. Describe the current conditions of water availability, quality and sanitation in a rural community in Baja California, Mexico. Discuss the acceptability and attitudes towards the implementation of a waste water sanitation system. Explain the public health implications and need for behavioral education and health policies in order to successfully implement a novel waste water system.

Keyword(s): Community Health Assessment, Rural Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have experience numerous years of experience in the development and implementation of community based research projects. I have conducted qualitative data collection in various setting for different health topics including environmental health, maternal and child health, and HIV/AIDS prevention.
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.