ASSESSMENT OF THE QUALITY OF BOREHOLE WATER AND HOUSEHOLD MORBIDITY PATTERN IN BENIN CITY
Water is essential to life, the scarcity of municipal water in Benin City has led to the dependence on privately owned boreholes as a source of domestic water supply amongst the residents of Benin City. Therefore, the specific objectives of the study were to assess the physical, chemical and microbiological quality of borehole water, using, pH, temperature color, turbidity, coliform count, hardness, lead, arsenic, fluoride, nitrate and iron as reference point, to asses if the site of the boreholes met standards, to assess the knowledge and practice of the owner/users of boreholes to standards for ideal boreholes, and to survey the morbidity pattern of households using the borehole as source of domestic water supply.
The study was conducted between December and February 2009, a period spanning 12 weeks. A descriptive, cross sectional study design was employed and a multistage sampling technique was used to select a total of 170 boreholes and 580 household heads that depend on the boreholes as their source of domestic water supply. Data was collected by administering a semi structured, researcher administered questionnaire, on the household heads, water from selected boreholes for laboratory analysis and a check list was used measure adherence of boreholes to standards.
Data was analyzed electronically using the Statistical package for Scientific Solution (SPSS) version 15 and Computer Program for Epidemiology (PEPI), with statistical significance set at P <0.05
All boreholes yielded fluoride with mean value 0.12 ± 0.13 which is about 85 percent below the reference range of 0.8 - 1.5mg/l. In Egor LGA all the boreholes yielded acidic water (pH<7), 36.5 percent of all boreholes had water with abnormal pH. All the boreholes were properly constructed, but 27.6 percent of the borehole sited wrongly. Only 1.2% of boreholes were registered or got government approval. The owners/users had poor knowledge (76.4%) and poor practice (81.2%) of standards.
The morbidity pattern survey showed that malaria had the highest frequency among the acute illness, while hypertension had the highest frequency amongst chronic illness (17.1%).
Conclusion and Recommendation
Water from boreholes in Benin City was relatively safe for domestic purpose, except for the low fluoride content. In terms of site and construction, boreholes were generally good. However, the owner/users of boreholes lacked knowledge and hardly practiced standards for ideal boreholes.
It is important that families using borehole water as domestic water begin to use topical fluoride gel to prevent against dental caries.
Key words-Borehole, water analysis, head of households, morbidity pattern.