An investigation into the prevalence of water borne diseases in relation to microbial estimation of potable water in the community residing near River Ravi, Lahore, Pakistan
Water-borne diseases are the most prevalent infectious diseases in the developing countries especially in new settlements along the river. The present investigation was carried out to assess the prevalence rate of water-borne diseases among people residing near the left bank of River Ravi. This study has a descriptive cross sectional design on a statistically calculated sample of 50 households and 150 interviewees selected through simple random sampling technique. The target site was divided into three areas on the basis of socioeconomic conditions of the people. People were interviewed and water samples were collected from households and tested for microbial estimation. The information obtained from the study revealed a rather grave scenario, showing that almost 69% of the people were illiterate. An average of 42% did not have the facility of community water supply and 21% had to fetch water from a nearby place. An idea of the sanitatory conditions could be made from the fact that 76% had closed sewer type of toilet facility whereas 8% used the conservancy and 16% had to go to open fields for defecation, as they did not have any toilet facility in their own houses. The most common illness was diarrhoea and vomiting having a prevalence rate of 62.67% followed by skin problems (21% prevalence rate). Water-borne diseases were mostly prevalent in monsoon and summer season (May to September) showing a percentage of 44.67% and 39.33%, respectively. 82% of the people interviewed admitted that they did not treat (boiled or filtered) water before drinking. Bacteriological examination of water samples, collected from the target households in the area of study alarmingly showed that only 4 (8%) samples out of 50 were found to be fit for drinking while 46 (92%) were found to be contaminated and were found unfit for drinking according to WHO standards.
Key words: Water-borne diseases, socioeconomic conditions, microbial estimation, semi-structured questionnaire, community water supply.