Evaluation of the sustainability of water and sanitation interventions in Central America after Hurricane Mitch : February 12 – 27, 2006
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Evaluation of the sustainability of water and sanitation interventions in Central America after Hurricane Mitch : February 12 – 27, 2006

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      The American Red Cross (ARC) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collaborated on a sustainability evaluation in communities that received ARC interventions in response to Hurricane Mitch in 1998. The sustainability evaluation of these interventions used indicators to measure continued effectiveness and performance of the interventions with no external support from ARC. This sustainability evaluation was conducted in 2006, four years after a 3-year survey was completed in 2002.

      The goal of this evaluation was to determine the sustainability of the water and sanitation interventions implemented by ARC in Central America post-hurricane. Local community services had been disrupted as a result of the hurricane. A 3-year survey of the health improvements of the interventions was completed by CDC in February of 2000, 2001, and 2002. The survey was done in eight communities in four countries - El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Improvements in health were measured using indicators. This sustainability evaluation was conducted in six of the eight communities that received ARC interventions.

      The sustainability evaluation was comprised of four components: a household-level interview, a community-level interview, water sampling and analysis from homes and community systems and an infrastructure evaluation. The household interview included a questionnaire that obtained data that focused on the three interventions - water, sanitation and hygiene education. Data collected evaluated hand washing behaviors, the condition of latrines, and the presence or absence of coliforms in household drinking water samples. The community-level and infrastructure questionnaires were the same as those used in the previous 3-year survey.

      Our results show that the ARC post-Hurricane Mitch water and sanitation interventions were sustainable after four years on a regional basis. In communities with an active water committee with long-standing members, the ARC water systems were still functioning and being maintained. However, even when the water systems were well-managed, most experienced periodic service disruptions due to seasonal flood damage.

      Suggested citation: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2008. Evaluation of the Sustainability of Water and Sanitation Interventions in Central America after Hurricane Mitch: February 12-27, 2006. Atlanta: U. S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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