A population sample from a community in a developing urban area (Botshabelo), which obtains its treated water supply from a communal standpipe system, was subjected to a short Health and Hygiene Awareness and Education (HHA&E) programme to improve its practices on storing water in, and handling water from, storage containers at home. The problem was that the community's practices lead to the deterioration of the microbiological quality of the water in domestic storage containers. Measuring changes in the practices, as well as the microbiological quality of water in the containers, were the instruments used to determine whether the programme had a positive educational effect. This paper reports on selected elements of the practices measurement. Structured interviews, observations and statistical analyses assessed three variables - container hygiene, container storage and hand hygiene. Results indicated insignificant improvements in practices. This was supported by insignificant improvements in the microbiological water quality, that was still above health-safety limits. This implied that short-term “quick fix” HHA&E programmes would tend to be ineffective. Results also suggested that some negative water-hygiene habits may readily change (container hygiene and storage), while behaviour of a more personal nature, such as hand-washing, was not easily changed.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.