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Presented at the American Public Health Association 137th Annual Meeting and Expo, November 7-11, 2009, Philadelphia, PA. Session presentation was entitled "Protection of Public Health and Capacity Development for Rural Water System in Gales Point, Belize--An Environmental Health Service Learning Project."

Abstract

Belize is a country in Central America, formerly British Honduras, located south of Mexico and east of Guatemala on the Yucatan Peninsula. As part of the WKU International Health and Human Service Learning Program, an assessment of the local water supply in Gales Point, Belize was conducted. Gales Point is a small rural village located on the Caribbean Sea coast of Belize. Belize is a developing country thus access to safe drinking water can be problematic, as was observed on the local scale. The lack of technical, managerial and financial capacity coupled with the rural location of the village, create water resource management challenges. The service learning program provided medical, dental, and environmental health services to the community. The environmental health team has collected source water and drinking water samples over a three year period. Quamina Creek, the sole source of public water for this community has been found to be contaminated with fecal coliform bacteria and E. coli. This water is pumped directly into homes completely untreated. The overarching purpose of the drinking water assessment was for the environmental health team to identify possible solutions for the protection and provision of safe drinking water to rural villages in Belize. Working with the Ministry of Health, Water Quality Branch, the environmental health team is developing strategies for capacity development of rural water systems in Belize from the national to village scale.

Disciplines

Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Environmental Public Health | International Public Health | Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion