Bacteriological Quality in Freshwater Reservoirs in Kericho Tea Estates in Kenya: Implications for Environmental Health Education
Akunga, D. N.
Wamicha, W. N.
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This study was aimed at assessing the bacteriological quality of the drinking water sources in Tea Plantation Estates of Kericho District with a view to relating the water quality aspects to the frequency of waterborne disease outbreaks among the tea plantation workers. Fieldwork was undertaken at four private reservoirs for five consecutive months starting from November 2001 to March 2002. Standard plate count method was used for the quantification of heterotrophic bacterial density while the analysis of water for the presence of total and faecal coliforms was carried out using the multiple-tube fermentation technique. Data for waterborne diseases outbreaks were obtained from the Brooke Bond company dispensaries while data for household water treatment procedures were obtained by way of questionnaires and interview schedules. The results of microbial levels obtained indicate presence of bacteria of the coliform group in the dams and end user drinking joints, which is an indication that the water might contain microorganisms that cause diseases like typhoid fever or dysentery among others. About 35 percent of the workers seeking medical attention at the dispensaries were suffering from a waterborne related problem. Also observed was the fat that majority of the respondents had no proper information regarding good sanitary practices and or water treatment techniques that reduce the risk of bacterial infection. There is need for a spirited education and awareness campaigns among the workers in the plantation estates on the good sanitary practices.