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Assessing the Impact of a School-based Safe Water Intervention on Household Adoption of Point-of-Use Water Treatment Practices in Southern India

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  • Department of Disease Control, Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom; Center for Global Safe Water, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

We assessed a pilot project by UNICEF and Hindustan Unilever Limited to improve the quality of drinking water for children in schools through adoption of improved drinking water practices among households in southern India. The intervention consisted of providing classrooms of 200 schools a commercial water purifier, and providing basic hygiene and water treatment information to students, parents, and teachers. We found no evidence that the intervention was effective in improving awareness or uptake of effective water treatment practices at home. A similar proportion of household members in the intervention and control groups boiled their water (P = 0.60), used a ceramic filtration system (P = 0.33), and used a cloth filter (P = 0.89). One year after the launch of the campaign, household ownership of the commercial purifier promoted at schools was higher in the intervention group (26%) than the control group (19%), but this difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.53).

Author Notes

*Address correspondence to Matthew C. Freeman, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Road NE, GCR 708, Atlanta, GA 30322. E-mail: mcfreem@emory.edu

Financial support: Matthew Freeman and Thomas Clasen are members of the staff of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, which receives funding for research from both UNICEF and HUL. The cost of this assessment was paid by HUL, though the sponsoring agency did not play a role in data collection or analysis.

Authors' addresses: Matthew C. Freeman, Center for Global Safe Water, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, E-mail: mcfreem@emory.edu. Thomas Clasen, Department of Disease Control, Environmental Health Group, Faculty of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom, E-mail: Thomas.clasen@lshtm.ac.uk.

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