Campaign Overview and Justification:
In resource-limited settings, cleaning drinking water is not always done. At times water treatment is neglected due to a lack of resources, but often, it is not done simply due to a lack of awareness about the potential dangers of drinking water that is not treated. In resource-limited regions in which there is an active cholera epidemic going on, such as Yemen in 2017 or Haiti in 2010/2011, this lack of awareness of the need to clean drinking water can be fatal. In other resource-limited settings, this may not be a fatal mistake, but instead may lead to chronic diarrhea from things like giardia or other pathogens, and subsequent malnutrition and wasting. These problems lower the overall health of the target population and represent an important target behavior that needs to be changed.
- We hope to reduce the consumption of contaminated water, especially in regions experiencing an ongoing cholera outbreak, thorough education of the risks associated with consumption.
- We hope to reduce the incidence of diarrheal illness in the settings mentioned above.
- We hope to make contact with governments, NGOs, humanitarian aid agencies, and local village educators/leaders in order to communicate to individuals about the risks associated with consumption of water in high-risk settings.
Identified Target Health Behavior/Attitude:
We have several targeted health behaviors we hope to address through education. First we would like to address sanitation practices. Defecation in or near water sources is a major factor in transmission of waterborne illness. Secondly, we hope to urge people to purify their water, especially in regions endemic to cholera before consumption. Through education on the risks of consumption we hope to reduce this behavior.
Our targeted audience is individuals in resource-limited regions experiencing an ongoing cholera epidemic. Although not cleaning water in many other settings can be detrimental for long-term health, implementing this campaign in a region with a known cholera outbreak would allow for the greatest impact and potential for harm reduction.
- Cleaning the water you drink is important because not doing so can cause significant harm and even death (in cholera settings)
- Using chlorine as a disinfectant or boiling water before drinking it can greatly reduce the risk of contracting a water-borne illness
- Water is generally not safe to drink in many settings, but specifically can be fatal when done in a setting in which cholera is epidemic
- Posters put up at well sites that depict the cycle that occurs from consumption of dirty water to diarrhea and open defecation (and other unsanitary practices) that contribute to contamination of the water source
- Flyers handed out at local religious meetings and with the help of local village leaders that depict the cycle that occurs from consumption of dirty water to diarrhea and open defecation (and other unsanitary practices) that contribute to contamination of the water source
- Educational sessions in which we work with local leaders and educators to teach about the dangers of consuming dirty water
We hope to implement the campaign in multiple aspects. First, we would like to create educational posters to place at water sources (such as wells) in resource limited settings. We would also hope to recruit local community members to stand by water sources and encourage behavior. These posters would include information on likelihood of contraction, benefits of purification, vaccination, and proper sanitation. Secondly, working with governments and NGOs to increase the regularity of water quality analysis in these rural health settings could allow residents to have an understanding of when their water is safe to drink. Lastly, having data from a pilot study to show the effectiveness of the intervention could be extremely useful in gaining the trust of local leaders to implement our protocols.
Our campaign would best be evaluated with a pilot study in a resource-limited region with an ongoing cholera outbreak. Primary outcomes of this pilot study would be the incidence of laboratory-confirmed cholera diarrhea. If there is a statistically significant decline in the incidence of cholera cases, in the 2-4 weeks after implementation of our campaign, then further evaluation for other possible confounding factors can occur at that time. If there is no statistically significant effect of these confounding factors on the incidence of diarrhea in the target area, or if these confounding variables can be adjusted for in our statistical analysis of our data, then we can base our campaign’s effectiveness on these results.