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Acceptability of solar disinfection of drinking water treatment in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal

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This research examines the acceptability of solar disinfection of drinking water (SODIS) in a village in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, using constructs from the Health Belief Model as a framework to identify local understandings of water, sanitation and health issues. There has been no published research on the acceptability of SODIS in household testing in Nepal. Understanding the context of water and water purity in Nepalese villages is essential to identify culturally appropriate interventions to improve the quality of drinking water and health. Forty households from the village census list were randomly selected and the senior woman in each household was asked to participate. Baseline data on water sources and behaviors were collected in March 2002, followed by training in SODIS. Follow-up data were collected in June and July 2002. Only 9% of households routinely adopted SODIS. Participants mentioned the benefit of treating water to reduce stomach ailments, but this did not outweigh the perceived barriers of heavy domestic and agricultural workloads, other cultural barriers, uncertainty about the necessity of treating the water, and lack of knowledge that untreated drinking water causes diarrhea. Strategies for developing safe water systems must include public health education about water-borne diseases, source water protection, and a motivational component to achieve implementation and sustained use. In addition, other options for disinfecting water should be provided, given the women's work constraints and low level of formal education.
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Keywords: Drinking water; Health Belief Model; Nepal; diarrhea; solar disinfection

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA

Publication date: October 1, 2005

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