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J Water Health. 2009 Sep;7(3):527-34. doi: 10.2166/wh.2009.063.

Increasing equity of access to point-of-use water treatment products through social marketing and entrepreneurship: a case study in western Kenya.

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  • 1Center for Global Safe Water, Hubert Department of Global Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


Point-of-use water chlorination reduces diarrhoea risk by 25-85%. Social marketing has expanded access to inexpensive sodium hypochlorite for water treatment, at a cost of less than US$0.01 per day, in Kenya. To increase product access, women's groups in western Kenya were trained to educate neighbours and sell health products to generate income. We evaluated this programme's impact on equity of access to water treatment products in a cross-sectional survey. We surveyed 487 randomly selected households in eight communities served by the women's groups. Overall, 20% (range 5-39%) of households in eight communities purchased and used chlorine, as confirmed by residual chlorine observed in stored water. Multivariate models using illiteracy and the poorest socioeconomic status as a referent showed that persons with at least some primary education (OR 2.5, 95% CI 1.8, 3.5) or secondary education (OR 5.4, 95% CI 1.6, 17.5) and persons in the four wealthiest quintiles (OR 2.5, 95% CI 1.0, 6.0) were more likely to chlorinate stored water. While this implementation model was associated with good product penetration and use, barriers to access to inexpensive water treatment remained among the very poor and less educated.

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