Mexico is currently facing a public health crisis in chronic diseases. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation’s (IHME) most recent data for Mexico (2017) shows that chronic kidney disease (CKD), is ranked second in Disability Adjusted Life Years. At the same time, acute diarrheal disease continue to be a significant public health problem, especially for children under five years old. Beginning in January 2019, our research team formed a collaborative partnership with the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente (ITESO) to developed a mixed methods study to collect preliminary data in Mezcala, San Pedro Itzicán, and Chapala, under the framework of the 6th Sustainable Development Goal, access to safe water as a human right. Between May and August 2019, we conducted 99 household surveys, 12 key informant interviews, and 6 focus groups regarding perceptions of drinking water, health behaviors, exposure to environmental and occupational contaminants, and relevant disease history. We tested water quality in participating households, measuring levels of arsenic, copper, nitrate, nitrite, total chlorine, free chlorine, and presence-absence of total coliforms and E. coli. Primary drinking water sources included purchased 20-liter garrafones from local manufacturers, tap water, and rooftop water tanks. We have begun to analyze this data using geospatial statistical methods. Preliminary results suggest that inhabitants of the Lake Chapala basin face significant structural barriers to access safe drinking water. We hope that our results from this study will support call for action by local communities during this water crisis. The knowledge gaps surrounding the true CKD burden in tandem with a growing local water crisis and decreasing water quality highlights the need for increased attention in Lake Chapala on the need for access to clean drinking water.
August 31, 2019