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Utah's Foremost Platform for Undergraduate Research Presentation
2022 Abstracts

Waterborne Disease Prevention Programs in the Philippines

Presenter: Leticia Lourdes Yutuc
Authors: Leticia Lourdes Yutuc
Faculty Advisor: Matthew Newsom
Institution: Southern Utah University

In some areas of the Philippines, clean water is a scarce resource, with people often forced to walk several miles to access clean water. However, many clean water pumps are either broken or inefficient, and wells can run dry, leaving some people to simply use contaminated water to go about their daily lives. These problems are complicated further by environmental and economic factors, such as urban sprawl, deforestation, pollution and the prioritization of industrial needs. Together, these factors are detrimental to public health because they can result in a group of conditions known as waterborne diseases. Such diseases are contracted upon the consumption of or contact with contaminated water, which can be teeming with various microorganisms, parasites, chemicals, and other molecules that disrupt the function of the body. In the Visayas region of the Philippines, this issue is particularly prevalent. Through ethnographic interviews conducted among public health organizations and healthcare professionals working within this region, this study aims to unearth how human behaviors, along with environmental and sociopolitical factors, can contribute to the proliferation of waterborne diseases among the people living in Visayas. Drawing on research and theory found in medical anthropology, this study identifies key obstacles to improving public health in Visayas, and considers intervention strategies currently underway in the region.