Health and Nutrition
by Lori Duff, Grahipla, Côte d'Ivoire
My drinking water is fairly fresh, since it comes from a deep and protected well (although I filter and chlorinate it to kill bacteria). Most villagers have begun filtering their water as protection against Guinea worm. But some continue to get their water from contaminated sources.
For example, there is a stagnant pond in a neighboring village where the nurse and I went to work. As we were measuring and treating it for Guinea worm, a pregnant woman came by to gather water. The nurse said to her, "You have a pump in your village. Why did you walk all the way here for water?" She shifted her weight and said, "It's for my baby. The water will make him strong."
Because of beliefs like this, many villagers continue to drink pond water. They say pumps have a metallic taste and pond water is more convenient, especially while working in the fields. Water officials also charge five to ten CFA to use the pump, which is too expensive for some villagers.
The consumption of dirty water is one reason our region has been struggling with Guinea worm for years. This, compounded with the fact that there's relatively no human waste disposal in area villages, creates an unhygienic environment. As a result, the nurse sees many cases of diarrhea and parasitic infection.
by Sarah McElroy, Kamalo, Côte d'Ivoire
The majority of the villagers drink water without filtering or chlorinating it. Some even specifically go to small ponds during the rainy season where the water is murky white. It supposedly tastes good!
The well water is contaminated by dirt, sand, animals, and microbes, since it is not covered. Anything could fall into the well and mosquitoes and flies can breed nearby in puddles of water.
There are many cases of diarrhea and fecal-related illnesses, which can be quite serious for babies and young children.
by Amy Bailey, Grand-Bereby, Côte d'Ivoire
My drinking water is fresh from a well that, frankly, holds impure water because of its dirt walls and the fact that it is uncovered. However, I filter and chlorinate my drinking and cooking water. I don't know of one other person in town who filters their water for any purpose. Everyone drinks well water.