This Cochrane Review summarises trials evaluating different interventions to improve water quality and prevent diarrhoea. After searching for relevant trials up to 11 November 2014, we included 55 studies enrolling over 84,000 participants. Most included studies were conducted in low- or middle-income countries (LMICs) (50 studies), with unimproved water sources (30 studies), and unimproved or unclear sanitation (34 studies).
What causes diarrhoea and what water quality interventions might prevent diarrhoea?
Diarrhoea is a major cause of death and disease, especially among young children in low-income countries where the most common causes are faecally contaminated water and food, or poor hygiene practices.
In remote and low-income settings, source-based water quality improvement may include providing protected groundwater (springs, wells, and bore holes) or harvested rainwater as an alternative to surface sources (rivers and lakes). Alternatively water may be treated at the point-of-use in people’s homes by boiling, chlorination, flocculation, filtration, or solar disinfection. These point-of-use interventions have the potential to overcome both contaminated sources and recontamination of safe water in the home.
This research is supported by the Department for International Development’s Evidence Building and Synthesis Research Programme which is led by Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Thomas F Clasen, Kelly T Alexander, David Sinclair, Sophie Boisson, Rachel Peletz, Howard H Chang, Fiona Majorin and Sandy Cairncross. Interventions to improve water quality for preventing diarrhoea. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2015) DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004794.pub3
Interventions to improve water quality for preventing diarrhoea
Published 20 October 2015