Informally vended sachet water: handling practices and microbial water quality

Manjaya et al. (2019) published this paper in a special addition of Water: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in Humanitarian Contexts. It explores the handling practices and microbial water quality of informally vended sachet water in Mwanza crossing into Malawi from Mozambique. The research sheds light on the common, but unregulated, use of hand-tied sachets of water in marginalized people. The research also examines the quality of the water and hygienic practices during packaging. Analysis of microbial concentrations in water from 76 vendors revealed that 75% of the water sources met WHO guidelines (<1 CFU/100 mL) for potable water. However, only 38% of water inside the sachets met these standards, indicating that packaging and handling processes had led to a sharp increase in contamination. The outside of the packages was also highly contaminated, which poses concern, since this the contact point with the consumer’s mouth and the water. The paper recommends hygiene education for vendors that focuses on filling and storage, refrigeration and use of sanitary coolers from which the bags are sold.          

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