By Lynn Sereya
Every year on 22nd March, the world celebrates World Water Day. The theme this year “Groundwater, making the invisible visible” lays emphasis on ground water which, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) provides provides half of all water used by households worldwide, a quarter of all the water drawn for irrigated agriculture, and one third of the water supply required for industry.
Safe water is essential for everyone.
As we mark this year’s World Water Day, let’s pose and reflect on the importance of water to our households. Lack of water can literally bring our normal operations to a standstill. The problem is even more magnified for people living with HIV and those with AIDS. Lack of water to this section of our population means vulnerability to opportunistic diseases such as diarrhea and cholera.
A threat to quality life
While life changing antiretroviral medicines have improved the prospects for many living with HIV in Kenya, the continued low access to basic services continue to threaten their quality of life and resulting state of health.
Water is life. Without water, everything around us would stink – from our bodies to the clothes we wear and even our surrounding environment. Besides cleaning, safe drinking water is required for drinking, taking medicine, cooking and while eating to make food easier to eat.
Clean and safe water is good for infants, especially those that are HIV positive to help strengthen their resistance from opportunistic diseases and lengthen their lives.
Water for business
Majority of people living with HIV are engaged in income generating activities. While most of the activities require water to run smoothly, there are those that solely rely on water as a primary requirement. Agriculture is one such commercial activity.
In rural areas and/ or urban slums where kids have to strenuously look for water, quality of education is drastically affected, thanks to many hours divided between schoolwork and collecting water. Far worse is the exposure of these kids to marauding sex predators as they engage in the exercise, resulting in unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases or worse still HIV infection.
National AIDS Control Council continuously employs multisectoral approach to reach the underserved with vital resources through critical collaborations, identifying and formulating favorable policy that addresses the plight of people living with HIV.
As we enjoy that glass of water, let’s remember to conserve and treasure it. Avoid wastage of water, store rainwater, re-use wastewater and check for leaks.