Women, Water and Healthy Communities
Clean drinking water is of primary importance for the health and prosperity of all communities. It is a precious resource that not only supports life but also leads to freedom for women, especially in developing nations.
My eyes were open to this fact while providing oral surgical care in Sub-Saharan Africa several years ago. I was shocked to learn that the countries that I was serving had an infant/child mortality rate of 30% due to diarrhea caused by drinking or bathing in contaminated water.
I learned that the task of finding potable water fell to women and children since it is uncompensated work. Women and their children must walk many miles to find water in these communities — sometimes up to eight hours a day. In addition, carrying containers of water back home weigh about 40 pounds on average.
Thus, the quest for clean water is back-breaking drudgery. Women and children who must walk miles for their water don’t have time for attending school, playing games, reading or learning. This results in a cycle of poverty and disease for these communities which will have no end unless we take action.
As a female surgeon who is highly educated; who owns property; who has the right to vote and who has access to clean water every day, I urge you to come out this next weekend at the World Vision Walk for Water being held here in Lake Oswego. Come and walk with Geisler Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Let’s all end the long walk for water for these communities. Healthy women lead to healthier communities. Healthy children have a future. You can make a difference.
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