Tufts OpenCourseware
Authors: Jeffrey Griffiths, M.D., David Gute, Ph.D.

1. Biology of Water and Health Midterm Examination

In the first lecture Dr. Griffiths discussed three case studies illustrating the concept of demographic transition whereby improvements in water quality and sanitation appear to be associated with improvements in health indices such as infant mortality, rates of diarrhea, and overall death rates in different countries (Malaysia, US Indian reservations after 1960, Sweden of the 19th century, Chicago of the 19th century). From the list provided below select 3-5 health indices, and looking back over the last 25-30 years, examine the trends in these indices along with trends in the percentage of people with water and sanitation in two countries – China and Uganda.

  1. Develop a timeline with at least three points in time expressed for both the health indices and the percentage of people with water and sanitation. Qualitatively, assess in narrative format the potential associations between and among these sets of indices. Are specific trends observable within the overall timeframe or for smaller periods within this larger timeframe? What forces, including political, climate, internal conflict, technology, might account for these trends? (Maximum of 2 pages each country, total of 4 pages)

  2. Compare the observable trends in these two countries with particular focus on the forces that support or impede developments in the area of health, water and sanitation. (Maximum of 2 pages)

  3. In terms of the provision of water and sanitation, discuss the relative vulnerability and preparedness of Uganda and China to withstand environmental pressures from climate change that they may face in the future. (Maximum of 2 pages)

As a starting point you may want to refer to the following references:

1.1. Format

Please submit a hard copy of your responses using 1 inch margins and 1.5 spacing. References should be cited in the text and listed in a separate Bibliography. It is suggested that at least 5 references be utilized representing a range of resources including the websites listed above, journal articles, text books, interviews, etc. Page limits have been suggested above. Overall page limit between 8-10 pages.

1.2. Health Indices

  • Crude total mortality rate

  • Under 5 mortality rate

  • Infant mortality rate

  • Population growth rate

  • Median age

  • Population structure, e.g., 0-5, 6-14, 15-64, >64 (population pyramid)

  • Malnutrition rates

  • Life expectancy

  • Total fertility rate

  • Proportion of female literacy

  • AIDS rates

  • Median incomes