Human Health and Differences among Countries

Water, being a most important resource for human survival, is indeed an important aspect to consider in maintaining and improving public health. Any prolonged water shortages may potentially result in unrest and panic, as aside from water’s life supporting capability it is also vital in ensuring cleanliness. However, while water is without doubt necessary for life, it is also undeniable that water may also bring forth detrimental effects to one’s health.

For one, in regions where in water quality is among the most alarming issues, diseases arising from unclean water such as diarrhea and trachoma as well as parasitic infections are quite common (Bartram et al. , 2005). Of course, it is not difficult to realize that unclean water may carry such threats or dangers which are not immediately noticeable or detectable; furthermore, if water supply has indeed been compromised then individuals would have no choice but to utilize the available sources of water regardless of the presence of the aforesaid health threats.

The problems regarding water quality and quantity however are not uniform throughout different countries or even communities; expectedly, there is a possible connection between the economic capability or wealth of a given population and the extent in which the aforesaid concerns regarding water manifests. Hence, to further understand these differences, it would be ideal to compare the water quality and quantity issues in the United States with a developing country such as Kenya.

In the context of the United States, it would be logical to assume for access to sufficient amounts of water is not a critical and ensuing concern. As a matter of fact, from previous studies, it has been established that for countries with similar capabilities and resources to that of the United States water is effectively distributed to all households, virtually without any discrepancy between urban and rural areas (Shaw, 2005).

In developing countries though, gaining access to water is a more difficult endeavor especially for the poor; ensuring that both urban and rural households would at least have access to potable water is still a significant challenge in such nations. In Kenya for example, acquiring drinking water requires occasional purchases outside one’s home as peddlers sell bottled water which are commonly acquired through the wells built by wealthy individuals (Shaw, 2005).

In contrast, water distribution problems in the United States are most often associated with future concerns. To clarify, given that sustainability is now being given emphasis, American’s perceive water supply issues as a matter of preserving current sources and utilizing such at an appropriate pace so as to ensure ample supply for future generations (Mays, 2007). Given such examples, it is undeniable that water supply issues between advanced nations and developing countries are evidently different.

Water quality concerns are of course essential discussed as well. In the case of Kenya, given that such simple means of acquiring drinking water is commonly utilized, mainly through the use of a well, waterborne diseases become an apparent threat. Particularly, among developing countries proper sewage or waste treatment facilities are still limited in number; in effect, disease causing elements, such as pathogens and contaminants, may eventually be brought into common sources of drinking water such as wells (Shaw, 2005).

Interestingly, a number of water quality issues existent in the United States are not entirely unlike those seen in developing countries. Despite the presence of advanced facilities for treatment and disposal, the possibility of detrimental effects arising from municipal, hazardous, and toxic wastes due to contamination are still existent are requires ensuing attention (Davies & Mazurek, 1999). In addition though, advanced nations being often concerned of the threats of terrorism faces a unique water quality issue.

As noted among FBI findings, water quality is a potential target of terrorist where in biological or chemical agents may be used to poison the water supply (Howard & Moore, 2006). Therefore, throughout the discussion, it becomes clear that despite obvious distinctions in water quality and supply issues between advanced and developing nations some concerns still remain existent, albeit in varying degrees, in both.


Bartram, J. , Lewis, K. , Lenton, R. , & Wright, A. (2005). Focusing on Improved Water and Sanitation for Health.The Lancet, 365(9461), 810 – 812. Davies, J. C. & Mazurek, J. (1999). Pollution Control in the United States: Evaluating the System. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future. Howard, R. , Forest, J. , & Moore, J. (2006). Homeland Security and Terrorism: Readings and Interpretations. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Professional. Mays, L. W. (2007). Water Resources Sustainability. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Professional. Shaw, W. D. (2005). Water Resource Economics and Policy: An Introduction. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing Incorporated.

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