Water supply sanitation and health are aspects that have a close association. In the cases where there is poor sanitation, inadequate qualities and quality of drinking water might result in millions of people to die from treatable and preventable conditions. The people that are more susceptible to these problems are the women and children. In the United States, public health has continually tried to look for ways of dealing with the challenges that arise from the quality and safety of drinking water. People are steadily becoming sick, contracting severe illness and even die as a result of taking water that is contaminated. Statistics from the US reveal that over 900,000 people get ill and about 900 of these people die as a result of water-borne diseases (Benedict et al. 2017). The CDC estimates that approximately 200,000 to 1,300,000 are at risk of acutely fall ill every year as a result of taking contaminated water (Benedict et al. 2017). It is thus evident that the issue of clean water for drinking is a severe sanitation issue. The effect of clean drinking water has a close relationship with the public health concerns and more importantly the risk of cholera.
Water and sanitation are linked in several ways. The contaminated water that people take might be the reason for the several waterborne diseases, such as cholera, hepatitis, typhoid, dysentery and other conditions related to diarrhea. Besides, the lack of adequate quantities of clean waters might result in the spread of skin and eye infection diseases such as trachoma. In some cases, the water supply projects might produce to water-based diseases, water-related and vectors borne infections. The water projects might provide the grounds for the growth of mosquitos, and snails that are an intermediate host for the parasite that causes diseases, such as malaria lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, and onchocerciasis (Benedict et al. 2017). Lastly, in the cases where the drinking water contains some high amounts of certain chemicals, there are often top changes in serious diseases. The challenge of clean water has been a significant concern for healthcare due to the relationship that it has with public health. However, the problem is even more prevalent in developing nations.
Most of the drinking water in the United States comes from ground and surface water sources which are both contaminated. The surface water from the lakes, Streams Rivers and ponds are at the risk of environmental contamination (Forrer et al., 2016). The contamination might come from non-points sources that include waste treatment plans, algal growth, and antiquated infrastructure (He et al., 2015). Due to the high risk of contaminations that comes from these water sources, it is often essential for the water to undergo sophisticated treatment. Besides, the groundwater might be contaminated with naturally occurring substances such as radon and arsenic (Beer et al., 2015).
Moreover, the underground might be at a higher risk of contamination from seepage of sewage, hazardous waste dumps, and leaking ground damps. There is also a challenge of the drinking water getting contaminated when they enter the distribution channels. There have been several cases where water was contaminated within the distribution system. The most common cases arise from the circumstances where sewage from water finds its way into the drinking water pipes.
The challenge of water affordability
From a study by Mark the next few decades might witness an increase in the prices of water to about four times the current levels. The study further points out that nearly 12 percent of American households are facing unaffordable water prices (Mack & Wrase, 2017). The number is bound to increase to about 35 percent in the coming five years. The study estimates the poor households are the one that are facing the current problems. However, shortly household that earns around $51,000 per year is the next group to meet this challenge (Mack & Wrase, 2017). Therefore, in the coming years, the problem will affect millions of Americans. However, the greatest challenge that comes with this is the health problems that will occur with the water shortage. With the people not being able to get clean water, most of them would opt for other sources that are not treated or are contaminated (Mack & Wrase, 2017). The millions of Americans are susceptible to some of the diseases that are associated with contaminated water. The most concern is that the situations would put much pressure on healthcare. There will need to increase expenditure on providing healthcare services from the people affected by health issues.
The case of Flint
In the year 2014, the officials of Flint Mich thought that to deal with the water challenges they need to switch the water supply. About 40 percent of the city dwellers in the city live in poverty. The official changed from Detroit Water and Sewerage Company to the Flint River (Pieper et al., 2017). However soon after the switch, the resident started raising issues regarding the water quality. There was a particular concern with the smell and the color. The test was carried out and revealed that the water had high levels of trihalomethanes a contaminant that can cause cancer. It emerged that Flint River water made the water pipes to corrode thus exposing the people to some harmful chemicals (Baum et al., 2016). Years later the residents of the town are forced to continue using bottled water as the water continues to be tested. But the use of bottled water does not seem to offer a solution due to the cost implication.
Potential health concerns of cases such as Flint
The centers of the Diseases Control and Prevention state that the exposure to lead might have an effect on almost any system in the body. The water can affect any individual that is exposed to it. However, the effect is even more pronounced when it comes to pregnant women children and the elderly (Baum et al., 2016). The impact on children might include behavior and attention-related issues, impaired hearing, delayed puberty, decreased cognitive abilities and stunted growth. The children are thus at the highest risk when they are exposed to any of these contaminations. Recent health reports show that about ten people have died from the legionnaire’s diseases which are a form of pneumonia (Baum et al., 2016). The case of flint demonstrates the importance of the quality of water in a community. The quality of water might have an impact on almost every aspect of society. The effect ranges from the homes to the business and even to the daily activities. However, the most significant impact is on health. As the case of flint, it is evident that the health effect of the water is not only short term but they are also long term. It is estimated that the exposure to the carcinogenic substances in the water might have a prolonged impact on the individuals.
A broader spectrum
It has been common to hear cases of sanitation in countries such as Nigeria, Haiti, Indian and Nigeria. However in recent times, the New York Times has been recording cases of cholera seem to be a severe health threat in over 70 countries (Wilson, 2018). Cholera is a condition that spurs the intestines and makes them flush violently. The problem has been shared in most of the poor regions of the world that are often faced with cases of poor sanitation. The question is on whether American could be on the verge of suffering from this problem. With the estimates already showing that most people might not be able to afford the increasing water bills, there is a cause for alarm (Wilson, 2018). There are several cases in cities where people’s water has been shut for non-payment in recent times. The situation would lead to a severe hygiene condition in the regions where the water is not affordable. Even in the town where the residents can afford the skyrocketing costs of the water bills the most significant challenges remain to be the outdated infrastructure.
The solutions to these challenges might begin with an effort from both the authorities and the healthcare sectors. However, to start with, the authorities that are tasked with providing the water, there is a need to invest in the replacement of the water pipes. Studies reveal that there are about 240,000 breaks in America (Wilson, 2018). With such high numbers, there is a risk of people being exposed to sewage, contaminant, and pathogens that could be the basis for cholera. For an outbreak, it just takes a few cases of the drinking water being mixed with the contaminated water. The next thing would often be an outbreak that usually goes out of control especially in the poor neighborhoods. With the challenge of the cost of water even going higher it is a concern for the authority’s responsible for providing water to look at ways of avoiding any cases of water contamination.
However, for now, the case of cholera is not such a serious concern for the country. The CDC has not yet raised the alarm on the susceptibility of the country to cholera. However, it does not mean that such came might not emerge (Ivers, 2017). Currently, the top cases of contamination of drinking water are Legionella, norovirus, Shigella, and Campylobacter (Ivers, 2017). However, this might not be the case in the coming future. Already the concern of water scarcity is leading to other interest and Cholera might be one of these concerns.
Clean running water is essential for the prevention of the outbreak of cholera. However, the focus on clean water is not only limited to drinking. The water is also necessary for other activities such as teach brushing, hand washing, cleaning, and cooking. However, there is an enormous challenge in a society where people often focus on clean water only for drinking. There are many cases where people will use contaminated water for other purposes without much concern. Such a situation is of much interest in the healthcare system. There is a need to sensitize the society that clean water is essential for all these another aspect. Therefore the role of the healthcare system is to ensure that it creates awareness around such issues.
My role would thus involve running a campaign that can help people to realize the need for clean water in carrying out activities such as cleaning, hand washing, brushing of teeth and other activities n the home. In this way, I seek to ensure that society can still stay healthy and avoid the risk that comes with contaminated water.
Pieper, K. J., Tang, M., & Edwards, M. A. (2017). Flint water crisis caused by interrupted corrosion control: Investigating “ground zero” home. Environmental science & technology, 51(4), 2007-2014.
Baum, R., Bartram, J., & Hrudey, S. (2016). The Flint water crisis confirms that US drinking water needs improved risk management.
Wilson, J. M. (2018). The use of intelligence to determine attribution of the 2010 Haiti cholera disaster. Intelligence and National Security, 33(6), 866-874.
Ivers, L. C. (2017). Eliminating cholera transmission in Haiti. New England Journal of Medicine, 376(2), 101-103.
Mack, E. A., & Wrase, S. (2017). A burgeoning crisis? A nationwide assessment of the geography of water affordability in the United States. PloS one, 12(1), e0169488.
Forrer, D. A., Boudreau, J., Boudreau, E., Garcia, S., Nugent, C., Allen, D., & Lubin, A. C. (2016). The effects of water utility pricing on low income consumers. Journal of International Energy Policy, 5(1), 9.
He, Z., Shentu, J., Yang, X., Baligar, V. C., Zhang, T., & Stoffella, P. J. (2015). Heavy metal contamination of soils: sources, indicators and assessment.
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Benedict, K. M., Reses, H., Vigar, M., Roth, D. M., Roberts, V. A., Mattioli, M., … & Yoder, J. S. (2017). Surveillance for waterborne disease outbreaks associated with drinking water—United States, 2013–2014. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report, 66(44), 1216.