By Haley McDermott, MPH
One morning in Sabana Grande, I stood outside watching the youngest in my host family get ready for the day. At two years old, she’d been taught to use the large, bathtub-like water storage basin to rinse her mouth out after brushing her teeth. Unfortunately, she elected instead to swallow the handfuls of water taken from the basin. Although the family used a separate, indoor container for drinking water, this basin was located outside near the latrine. Because it was uncovered, the basin was also filled with mosquito larva. I cringed; hoping that the water she had just swallowed wouldn’t cause her to get sick. At the same time I wondered when the public infrastructure would allow for more vector control efforts, which were lacking at the current time due to scarce resources. As I spent more time in the community, I continued to see similar situations that could significantly contribute to illnesses of both human and animal importance. It was in these simple, everyday experiences I began to notice the small disconnects in public health knowledge and practices, and the impact that education could have on reducing the burden of illness of One Health importance within the community.