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Sachet Water Quality and Brand Reputation in Two Low-Income Urban Communities in Greater Accra, Ghana

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  • Department of Geography and Regional Studies, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida; Department of Public Health Sciences, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, Florida; Department of History, Political Science, and Philosophy, Delaware State University, Dover, Delaware; Water Research Institute, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Accra, Ghana

Sachet water has become an important primary source of drinking water in western Africa, but little is known about bacteriologic quality and improvements to quality control given the recent, rapid evolution of this industry. This report examines basic bacteriologic indicators for 60 sachet water samples from two very low-income communities in Accra, Ghana, and explores the relationship between local perceptions of brand quality and bacteriologic quality after controlling for characteristics of the vending environment. No fecal contamination was detected in any sample, and 82% of total heterotrophic bacteria counts were below the recommended limit for packaged water. Sachets from brands with a positive reputation for quality were 90% less likely to present any level of total heterotrophic bacteria after controlling for confounding factors. These results contrast with much of the recent sachet water quality literature and may indicate substantial progress in sachet water regulation and quality control.

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to Justin Stoler, Department of Geography and Regional Studies, University of Miami, 1300 Campo Sano Avenue, PO Box 248067, Coral Gables, FL 33146-4401. E-mail: stoler@miami.edu

Authors' addresses: Justin Stoler, Department of Geography and Regional Studies, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL, E-mail: stoler@miami.edu. Raymond A. Tutu, Department of History, Political Science, and Philosophy, Delaware State University, Dover, DE, E-mail: rtutu@desu.edu. Hawa Ahmed, Lady Asantewa Frimpong, and Mohammed Bello, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Water Research Institute, Environmental Health and Biology Division, Accra, Ghana, E-mails: hawaahmed360@yahoo.com, asantewa84@yahoo.co.uk, and yarbello@yahoo.com

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