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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 1987;81(1):51-4.

Water use and health in Mueda, Mozambique.

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  • 1Department of Tropical Hygiene, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.


A comparison of domestic water use in 2 villages in Mueda, Mozambique, indicated that a reduction in the length of the water collection journey from 5 h to 10 min was associated with an increase in average water consumption from 4.1 to 11.1 litres per person per day. Bathing and washing clothes accounted for 70% of the increased total. Bathing of children was a regular nightly event in the village with a water supply but almost unknown in the other. Water used for food preparation also increased, suggesting that scarcity of water may also influence diet. A major benefit of water supply is the saving of women's time and effort from water collection. In Mueda, it was an average of 1 3/4 h per day. More than half the time saved was spent on other household tasks, particularly grinding cereals, and on other productive work. Women spent much of the remainder with their children. A trachoma survey, organized as a training exercise for medical students, found a 19% prevalence of trachoma in the village with a water supply, while the prevalence was twice this figure in another village with no supply.

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