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Quality of water the slum dwellers use: The case of a Kenyan slum

Elizabeth W Kimani-Murage, University of the Witwatersrand
Augustine Ngindu, World Health Organization (WHO)

Rapid urbanization in a context of economic degradation has resulted in the majority of urban residents in sub-Saharan Africa living in slums often characterized by lack of basic services. Consequently, the urban poor often use pit latrines and at the same time may draw domestic water from nearby wells. Overcrowding in slums limits adequate distance between wells and pit latrines so that micro-organisms migrate from latrines to water sources. This study sought to assess faecal contamination of domestic water sources in a Kenyan urban slum as well as sanitary practices. Results showed that the domestic water sources were heavily contaminated with faecal matter. Owing to the faecal contamination, there is a high possibility of presence of disease pathogens in the water; thus the water from the wells may not be suitable for human consumption. This study calls for change of policy that limits provision of government services to slum dwellers.

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Presented in Session 16: Achieving the MDG targets for water and sanitation