Changing water-use patterns in a water-poor area: Lessons for a trachoma intervention project

Ann P. McCauley, Matthew Lynch, Moses B. Pounds, Sheila K West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


An epidemiological survey carried out in the Dodoma region of Tanzania found that high rates of trachoma infection in pre-school children were associated with unwashed faces. Prior to a planned trachoma intervention project, a pilot study was done on household decisions about water use and perceptions about face washing and eye disease. The study found that mothers overestimated the amount of water necessary to wash a child's face. In addition, mothers would not change their water-use priorities without the consent of their husbands and the support of the community. Therefore a health education program was designed to address the perception that face washing required a great deal of water. The program also sought to involve and re-educate the whole community rather than focus only on the mothers who were most likely to wash the children's faces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1233-1238
Number of pages6
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1990



  • eye disease
  • household health decisions
  • Tanzania
  • water use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Development
  • Health(social science)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)

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