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Revista de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 0124-0064


GUZMAN-BARRAGAN, Blanca L; DIAS BEVILACQUA, Paula  and  NAVA-TOVAR, Gerardo. Local contexts of drinking-water quality surveillance: Brazil and Colombia. Rev. salud pública [online]. 2015, vol.17, n.6, pp.961-972. ISSN 0124-0064.

Objective This article aims to analyze comparatively the national surveillance systems of water quality for human consumption (DWQS) of Brazil and Colombia, seeking to understand how practices are organized in these countries, along with their limits and possibilities. Methods The National Cross Comparison methodology was used with document analysis of secondary sources, with the purpose of discussing the similarities and differences between the two systems using the WHO’s Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality. Results The legal framework on DWQS in Brazil and Colombia was defined in the 70s and 80s, coinciding with the international visibility of this issue. Thereafter, DWQS practices in Brazil have been defined and organized in a national program, which has only recently started in Colombia. The current Brazilian and Colombian legislations show progress in technical elements that guide surveillance practices, such as the incorporation of risk assessment methodologies. The Colombian legislation defines the regulation of water supply services provision, which is not contemplated in Brazilian legislation. Elements such as decentralization, intersectionality, universality and right to information are included in the legislations of both countries, although further action on DWQS is needed. Conclusions Brazil and Colombia have similarities in the implementation of DWQS, despite being at different points in the implementation timeline. Actions on drinking-water quality surveillance are necessary to guarantee human rights related to the protection of the environment, such as universal access to drinking water, contributing to the promotion of health.

Keywords : Water quality; public health surveillance; environmental health; public health policy; health promotion.

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