Shimla's Water Wisdom: Assessing Public Awareness to Prevent Waterborne Diseases
Dr Vibha Thakur1, and Dr Surekha kumari2*
1Dr Vibha Thakur Department of Microbiology, Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India
2Dr Surekha kumari Department of Physiology, Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India
Article History: | Received: 25.08.2023 | Accepted: 30.08.2023 | Published: 08.09.2023|
Abstract: Background: Access to clean and safe drinking water is vital for public health, yet many regions, including the picturesque hill station of Shimla in Himachal Pradesh, India, face challenges related to waterborne diseases. Waterborne diseases, caused by pathogenic microorganisms contaminating water sources, pose significant health risks. This study assesses the awareness and knowledge of Shimla's residents regarding waterborne diseases. Materials and Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional survey was conducted from April to July 2023. The study included 400 adults residing in Shimla for at least 12 months. A structured questionnaire comprising socio-demographic data and 20 knowledge-related questions was used. Knowledge levels were categorized as very good (>80%), good (60-79%), fair (41-59%), and poor (<40%). Data analysis employed Epi Info V7 software. Results: Respondents demonstrated strong awareness in several areas, including understanding waterborne diseases' causes (81.5%), recognizing common symptoms (79.75%), and identifying risk factors (78%). However, gaps in knowledge were evident, particularly regarding vaccination awareness (24.5%) and the role of water treatment facilities (31.25%). Overall, 31.5% had very good knowledge, 36.75% had good knowledge, 21% had fair knowledge, and 10.75% had poor knowledge of waterborne diseases. Conclusion: Shimla's residents exhibit commendable awareness and knowledge of waterborne diseases, with opportunities for improvement in specific areas. Targeted public health campaigns and educational initiatives are essential to bridge these knowledge gaps effectively, ensuring that Shimla's water remains a source of life and not a cause of illness.
Keywords: Shimla, waterborne diseases, awareness, knowledge, public health, education, sanitation, hygiene, vaccination awareness.