Study by Environmental Health Journal
Lack of access to safe water remains a significant risk factor for poor health in developing countries. There has been little research into the health effects of frequently carrying containers of water. The aims of this study were to better understand how domestic water carrying is performed, identify potential health risk factors and gain insight into the possible health effects of the task.
Mixed methods of data collection from six were used to explore water carrying performed by people in six rural villages of Limpopo Province, South Africa. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews and through observation and measurement.
Water carrying was mainly performed by women or children carrying containers on their head (mean container weight 19.5 kg) over a mean distance of 337 m. The prevalence of spinal (neck or back) pain was 69% and back pain was 38%. Of participants who carried water by head loading, the distance walked by those who reported spinal pain was significantly less than those who did not (173 m 95%CI 2-343; p = 0.048).
Typical water carrying methods impose physical loading with potential to produce musculoskeletal disorders and related disability. This exploratory study is limited by a small sample size and future research should aim to better understand the type and strength of association between water carrying and health, particularly musculoskeletal disorders. However, these preliminary findings suggest that efforts should be directed toward eliminating the need for water carrying, or where it must continue, identifying and reducing risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders and physical injury.
Source: Full study details Environmental Health Journal
I did find a solution that is being used in many parts of South Africa. The only area of West Africa where this product is being used currently is Burkina Faso.
Of course nothing takes the place of a centrally located well with CLEAN water.
~~~~~Update from Maritza re Djati and the proposed well site:~~~~~~"The new well will be in the middle of the village, exactly where we have our classroom, this will make things easier for the villagers and also for our students to have a fresh supply of water."
We will get a well built -- this will happen! I know it. I will get busy making more butterflies!!
If anyone is interested in more information on the health implications of carrying water on your head, I covered the topic in my blog www.posturemovementpain.wordpress.com
Thank you for your comment Bryan. I am always interested in learning more on the subject.
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