Public Health: Results so far and what happens next

In the last couple of posts, Judy Hodge explained the role of public health in engineering, and the method through which we collect public health data. Now we conclude the series with: 

What is going to happen with the data?

Once back in North America, data was entered in Excel and analyzed to determine primary water source, use of disease prevention strategies (e.g., treatment of drinking water and hand-washing with soap), and health concerns in the community.

The primary source of water for Usalama households was found to be Kiosk 1, with 52% (88 of 170 households surveyed) stating that they purchase water here. Other common sources for water included distribution centers in the town of Kibwezi (25%, 43/170) and Kiosk 2 (10%, 17/170). Five households (3%) reported using boreholes as their primary source of water. In Usalama, boreholes typically provide salty water that is considered unfit for human consumption.

60 % of households (102/170) do not treat their drinking water. Of the households that do treat their water, 33% (56/170) use chemical disinfection (chlorination with the product Water Guard) and 3% (5/170) boil their water. Soap was found in most households, 6% in the hand-washing area specifically (10/170) or easily retrieved (67%, 114/170). 26% (45/170) of households did not have soap.

Survey respondents were also asked to describe their top three health concerns. 61% (103/170) listed malaria or fever among their top three concerns. Other common health concerns included a lack of available water (16% , 27/170), cough (16%, 28/170), and distance to a hospital (4%, 7/170). Of the eligible households surveyed (those that had children), 16% (22/142) reported a child having diarrhea in the prior two week period. Bed nets to prevent malaria and other vector-borne diseases were commonly used, with 79% (135/170) of respondents observed as having at least one bed net in use. However, 20% (34/170) of households did not own a bed net.


A young man with his supply of water from a kiosk

An example of a bed net for malaria prevention

In this household, water is stored in a large barrel and then siphoned off into a smaller jug for use.

What’s next?

Over the next year, data analysis will continue and the post-implementation survey will likely be conducted in Spring 2015. The statistical program STATA will be used to investigate the significance of any differences between the pre and post survey results. A final report on the impact of the EWB-NY Water Restoration Project will be prepared and presented to both EWB-NY and to the community of Usalama.
Comparing the pre-implementation (baseline) survey results to the post-implementation data will not only evaluate the effectiveness of the improved water system, but also shed light on other factors that impact health and well-being in the community, and serve as a model for future evaluations of EWB projects.


Judy Hodge is a public health consultant and co-founder of Katrime Integrated Health, an interdisciplinary start-up health consultancy that fosters collaborative health partnerships to promote sustainable solutions for Global Health. Have questions or want more information? She can be reached at or +1 (431) 999-2236 and – stay tuned – is coming soon!

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