The Effectiveness and Cultural Practicality of Ceramic Water Filters in the Kiwcha Community of Ecuador
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INTRODUCTION: Does the ceramic water filters reduce the number of people with water borne parasites, reduce the incidence of diarrhea and improve water drinking habits compared to a community without water filters? Qualitative Data- I went to two different communities, Pukara Quinche (with water filters) and Huashig (without water filters) and collected their fecal samples to analyze any presence of parasites. I compared each community to see if the percentage of people with one or more parasites in their feces was less in Pukara Quinche than Hua Shig. I also compared whether the water filters have maintained its effectiveness since its implementation in 2011 by comparing previous years' data. Quantitative Data: For 2013, I interviewed the two communities about their opinions of the water filters (but if they have no water filters, how they clean their water), the frequency of using water filters, their drinking water practices and any abdominal-related illnesses in the past year. There are several important variables that I failed to take into account. RESULTS: In general, the results show that water filters have a positive impact on creating awareness for clean water, but more should be done to improve overall hygienic habits as well as maintain the sustainability of the use of water filters. Although the results show that the effects of water filters is culturally specific for the Kichwa community, the issue of sustainability and improvement in overall hygienic habits (in addition to the implementation of water filters) can be universally applied to many other low-income and low health literacy people with no access to clean water because it is easy to use and easy to store. While the water filters were shown to lower the incidence of health problems, however, it seemed to not significantly reduce the overall percentage of people with parasites. This discrepancy further shows that while the water filters provide a good temporary point of source clean water, but it should not be a permanent solution on delivering accessible clean water to the entire communities. It neglects the fact that the government will have less incentive to improve the water system to the poor community, if they feel the water filters is sufficient enough to deliver free water.