Journal AWWA - Drawing the Connection Between Malnutrition and Lack of Safe Drinking Water in GuatemalaBraghetta, Anne Edition: Vol. 98 - No. 5
American Water Works Association / 01-May-2006 / 10 pages

Less than half of the rural Guatemalan population has access to clean water, 98% of the country's water sources are contaminated and only 15 municipalities in the country have operational drinking water treatment systems. Guatemala also has among the world's worst health statistics for chronic malnutrition and substandard child growth attainment. Over the long term, chronic malnutrition and disease leads not only to stunted growth but also to the likelihood that children will not reach their full genetic and educational potential, thus reducing their productivity and earning power. Despite efforts to improve water systems over the past decade, improvements have not kept pace with population increases and migration. Investment in water systems has also declined because of the perceived high cost of centralized water treatment facilities. However, providing safe water does not have to be cost-prohibitive. This article explores how the lack of safe water significantly contributes to the high incidence of diarrheal disease and chronic malnutrition and what can be done to provide clean drinking water to the Guatemalan population. Four factors, all of which can be accomplished at a relatively minor cost, are identified as key to providing clean drinking water to a household or small community. Includes 37 references, table, figure.

Keywords: Costs; Water Systems; Water Treatment; Guatemala; Public Health; Statistics; Contamination; Health Effects

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