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Am J Public Health. 2007 Mar;97(3):398-400. Epub 2007 Jan 31.

Bringing safe water to remote populations: an evaluation of a portable point-of-use intervention in rural Madagascar.

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  • 1Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY 14214, USA.


Rural populations disproportionately lack access to improved water supplies. We evaluated a novel scheme that employed community-based sales agents to disseminate the Safe Water System (SWS)--a household-level water chlorination and safe storage intervention--in rural Madagascar. Respondents from 242 households in 4 villages were interviewed; all used surface water for drinking water. Respondents from 239 households (99%) had heard of Sûr'Eau, the SWS disinfectant; 226 (95%) reported having ever used Sûr'Eau, and 166 (73%) reported current use. Current Sûr'Eau use was confirmed in 54% of households. Community sales agents effectively motivated their neighbors to adopt a new health behavior that prevents diarrhea. Future work should focus on strategies for sustaining SWS use, factors that motivate community-based sales agents to promote SWS, and the feasibility of scaling up this approach.

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