Bukidnon gets UN support for water quality monitoring

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/10 July) — The Bukidnon Provincial Health Office has started monitoring water sources in the province’s 20 towns and two cities using portable microbiological laboratories, Engr. Florissa Adviento, chief of the PHO’s environmental and occupational health services, said.

Adviento told MindaNews the provincial government has acquired a grant from the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) and the Department of Health for the portable laboratories to implement water quality monitoring.

She added they are doing water analysis for E. coli bacteria and other waterborne diseases.

Adviento said it is meant to help the province comply with its share in the country’s commitments to achieving the eight Millennium Development Goals, especially on ensuring environmental sustainability.

Among the 11 indicators of environmental sustainability is to cut by half the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation by 2015.

Adviento said one problem is identifying if the diarrhea cases reported to them are caused by E. coli bacteria or other carriers.

The PHO, she said, has opted to pursue barangay-based monitoring to ensure drinking water quality at the community level. But she admitted that not all barangays are covered yet.

She added they have piloted some barangays in all towns starting last week of June but she could not give figures yet.

The Bukidnon provincial board has passed a resolution urging municipal and city health offices to conduct bacteriological examination and disinfection of all water sources in the barangays to prevent infection with E. coli and the spread of waterborne diseases in their area.

E. coli is a microorganism that lives in the digestive tracts of humans and animals, which can cause bloody diarrhea, severe anemia, urinary tract infections, and even kidney failure that may lead to death.

Marivic Montesclaros, board committee on health chair, said the bacteria will spread if sources of running water are unsanitary and foods are laced with human and animal feces due to water contamination. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)