Understanding the Determinants of Water Related Diseases

Understanding the cultural beliefs and behaviors related to water use, as well as the underlying reasons for water scarcity, are central to any attempt to reduce morbidity and mortality due to cholera and other water-borne diseases. Untangling the complex set of relationships between determinants of water supply, personal and household hygiene behaviors, and exposures to waterborne diseases has benefited from the work of medical anthropologists and their application of concepts, skills, and techniques. The synergistic effect of expanding our understanding of the underlying determinants of the changing rates of water-borne and water-washed diseases to include behaviors and beliefs associated with water insecurity enhances our ability to facilitate the interruption of transmission of water-borne and water-washed disease such as cholera, trachoma, schistosomiasis, amoebic dysentery, malaria, and hepatitis.

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