IFGH 2010: The Sodiswater Project: Health Impact Assessments of Solar Disinfection of Drinking Water Against Childhood Dysentry and Diarrhoea in Zimbabwe, S Africa, Kenya and Cambodia

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November 30, 2010

We present results of a 1-year Health Impact Assessment (HIA) of the effect of solar disinfection of drinking water against childhood diarrhoea in Zimbabwe, S Africa, Kenya & Cambodia. For children under age 5 years, proper use of SODIS (compliance > 75%) resulted in significant reductions in rates of dysentery ranging between 30% and 65% in Kenya, S Africa and Cambodia. No significant results were available from the Zimbabwe study which was hampered by political unrest, economic crises and a prolonged outbreak of cholera throughout the country. Analysis of anthropometric measurements of weight and height showed median height-for-age was significantly increased in those on SODIS, corresponding to an average of 1.3 cm over the group as a whole (95% CI 0.54 to 2.2 cm, P=0.001). Median weight-for-age was similarly higher in those on SODIS, corresponding to a 0.4 kg difference in weight (95% CI 0.16 to 0.64 kg, P<0.001). This is the first trial to show evidence of the effects of SODIS on childhood anthropometry, compared with children in the control group and should alleviate concerns expressed by some commentators that the lower rates of dysentery associated with SODIS are the product of biased reporting rather than reflective of genuinely decreased incidence.

 

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