Sachet water: Prevalence of use, perception and quality in a community of Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State
Background: Sachet water is a phenomenon that has gained widespread use as an alternative to the insufficient provision of potable water. It is an alternative that is readily available, affordable but not without concerns about its purity. The objective of this study is to determine the prevalence of use, perception of safety and assess the quality of sachet water consumed by the population.
Methods: A total of 360 respondents were selected using a multistage sampling technique. A semistructured interviewer administered questionnaire was used to collect data and analysis was done using Epi info software version 3.5.4. The sachet water samples used were purposively selected and analyzed for specified physical, chemical and microbiological parameters and compared to the National and WHO
Guidelines for drinking-water quality.
Results: There is 93.1% use of sachet water among respondents amongst other sources such as tap water, bottled water, well and stream water. Sixty seven percent of respondents affirmed that sachet water is safe. Analysis of the five different sachet water brands showed normal physical and chemical values. Microbiological analysis showed presence of coliforms in three of the sachet water samples.
Conclusion: The presence of contaminated sachet water available to the community increases the risk for waterborne diseases contributing to the already prevailing cases present in our society at large. There is a need for regulatory bodies to do more to improve the safety of drinking water in communities which will ultimately improve their health status.
Key words: sachet water, prevalence of use, perception, quality