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Characterization of Microbiological Water Quality and Prevalence of Waterborne Diseases in Marigat Urban Centre Baringo County, Kenya
 
 
 
 

Characterization of Microbiological Water Quality and Prevalence of Waterborne Diseases in Marigat Urban Centre Baringo County, Kenya

 
Prof. George Ogendi
 
Department of Environmental Science, Egerton University, Kenya
 
 

Access to safe water is a precondition for health and is a basic human right. It is however worth noting that approximately 20% of the global population lack access to potable water whereas over 30% lack access to basic sanitation. The situation is much worse in the arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) in the developing countries. It is because of the foregoing water and sanitation situation that 3.4 million deaths are reported annually. An assessment of the microbiological water quality and prevalence of waterborne diseases was conducted in Marigat, a sprawling urban area in the ASALs of northern Kenya. We employed a mixed methods research design in this study: Field sampling followed by laboratory measurements, and a Cross-sectional household survey. A structured questionnaire was administered to household heads. Ten water samples were collected from the drinking water sources and at the household level (Point of Use) during the dry and wet seasons and analyzed for E. coli and TC bacteria using the MPN method. Health records of persons that sought healthcare services at various Marigat health centres were reviewed to determine prevalence of waterborne diseases. The E. coli levels in household water samples ranged from 200cfu/100ml to 2500cfu/100ml, whereas the range was 25cfu/100ml to 4575cfu/100ml for Total Coliforms. The study findings indicated that there was a significant association between level of education and covering of water storage container (P< 0.05). There was a significant interaction between the point of water sources and season in terms of E. coli and TC (P < 0.01) TC (P< 0.05) respectively. Nearly half of the respondents indicated that diarrhea and typhoid were the most prevalent waterborne diseases in children under the age of 5 years during dry season. Typhoid and cholera were more prevalent during the wet season. Findings of this study showed that the water sources in the study area are contaminated and hence unsuitable for human consumption. We recommend intensification of public health awareness campaigns on water, sanitation, and hygiene in the study area. Finally, relevant public health agencies at both county and national levels need to prioritize and invest in water and sanitation infrastructures.