Access to clean water plays a critical role in advancing health in low- and middle-income countries. Over the past decade, Ghana has met United Nations targets for expanding access to clean water. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have taken part in this achievement; however, they have done so with varying success. In 2013, researchers from the University of Chicago, accompanied by local partners, visited seven villages in the Ashanti Region in which a Ghanaian NGO had installed boreholes for drinking water access. Household and leader questionnaires were administered to examine the impact of the project on each community. Four additional villages, which utilize surface water, were visited to establish baseline health and sanitation characteristics. Water samples were collected from primary drinking water sources and tested for coliforms. Two out of seven NGO wells were non-functional and over 35% of respondents cited broken pipes as common problems. Nonetheless, over 60% of respondents reported that a borehole had reduced their water collection time by a median of 30 minutes daily. Coliform counts were lower in samples taken from boreholes relative to samples taken from communities using surface water. Finally, we found redundant water services in many communities and no formalized approach to borehole maintenance.

You do not currently have access to this content.