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Evaluation of the sustainability of water and sanitation interventions in Central America after Hurricane Mitch : second sustainability survey, February 14–March 5, 2009 : final report to the American Red Cross International Services
  • Published Date:
    October 2010
  • Language:
Filetype[PDF-1.00 MB]

  • Description:
    The American Red Cross (ARC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collaborated on a sustainability evaluation in communities that received ARC interventions in response to Hurricane Mitch, which affected Central America in 1998. The evaluation was designed to determine whether the water, sanitation, and hygiene education interventions ARC implemented in Central America after the hurricane could be sustained. The evaluation used indicators to measure the continued effectiveness and performance of the interventions once the interventions were completed by ARC.

    An initial three-year survey to determine the health impact of the interventions and their functionality after completion was done during the period of 2000–2002. This survey was conducted in eight communities in four countries—El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Results recommended continued follow-up to determine sustainability. The 2009 sustainability evaluation was the second to be conducted since the initial three-year survey. The first sustainability survey was completed in 2006.

    This sustainability evaluation had four components: household-level interview, community-level interview, water sampling and analysis from homes and community systems, and infrastructure evaluation.

    The household interview and the community and infrastructure questionnaires were similar to the questionnaires used in 2000-2002; they focused on the three interventions—water, sanitation, and hygiene education.

    Our results show that the ARC water and sanitation interventions were generally sustainable on a regional basis after seven years. Physical infrastructure, such as water systems and sanitation facilities, is still present and functioning to a certain degree in many communities. However, these communities continue to have the same issues identified in the 2006 sustainability survey and are in need of assistance in maintaining and repairing the physical infrastructure. Water systems are well- managed, but they experience periodic service disruptions due to seasonal flood damage. Sanitation facilities are present; however, they are reaching their maximum capacity and can no longer be used in some cases. Additional health education is needed to ensure continued proper use and maintenance of both water and sanitation interventions as it did not show significant improvement over time.

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