American Journal of Rural Development
ISSN (Print): 2333-4762 ISSN (Online): 2333-4770 Website: Editor-in-chief: Chi-Ming Lai
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American Journal of Rural Development. 2017, 5(3), 55-64
DOI: 10.12691/ajrd-5-3-1
Open AccessArticle

Perceived Access to Water: Associations with Health in Rural Uganda

Amber L. Pearson1, , Amanda Rzotkiewicz1 and Judith Namanya1

1Department of Geography, Environment & Spatial Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA

Pub. Date: April 12, 2017

Cite this paper:
Amber L. Pearson, Amanda Rzotkiewicz and Judith Namanya. Perceived Access to Water: Associations with Health in Rural Uganda. American Journal of Rural Development. 2017; 5(3):55-64. doi: 10.12691/ajrd-5-3-1


Water security has been associated with myriad health concerns. However, measures of access to water vary and may not reflect reality or user priorities, affecting our understanding of the effect of water security on health. This study aimed to: 1) examine relationships between established measures and perceived access to water; and 2) compare the ability of established measures versus a perceived measure to predict health outcomes. Data collection included baseline anthropometrics, bi-monthly morbidity histories, and a final survey over a four-month period among 100 households in Uganda’s rural, semi-arid savannah. Hierarchical regression models were fitted to test relationships. Despite low water security, 68% of participants did not report illness. Perceptions of better access was significantly associated with fewer minutes walking to source and, surprisingly, with fewer litres collected yesterday/person. Perceived better access (β=-0.09, p<0.10) and more public ownership (β =-0.09, p<0.10) were associated with lower percentage time ill. Both effects were small. Understanding of the drivers of perceived water access may provide useful insights into social dimensions of water security, which may influence health.

water security health perceived access uganda water quantity

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