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On The Hygiene & Sanitation Corner

by Noah Arre
Friday, October 14, 2016

When it comes to hygiene and sanitation, did you know that:

·                     Nearly all so-called waterborne diseases, from quick-killing cholera to uncomfortable stomach-ache, are really spread through poor hygiene and sanitation practices. But water is unfairly blamed?

·                     Diarrhea (a waterborne disease) in its various forms is a killer, and causes pain and suffering?

·                     Diseases from poor sanitation are also passed on in other ways?

·                     A lack of water causes many diseases and water scarcity is the villain of diseases like trachoma which blinds millions? 

·                     Hygiene is the first line of defense against the spread of many diseases?

·                     The aim of sanitation is to block all unhygienic pathways that facilitate the spread of diseases?

·                     Washing of hands is so important in preventing the spread of infection because many of them are passed from hand to mouth?

·                     Washing with soap or ashes is best, and an essential thing for good health is to have enough water?

·                     Water for washing does not have to be of the same quality as drinking water?

·                     Flies are responsible for the spread of many diseases (the real villains), but cockroaches are sometimes to blame too? …the reason is because flies like feeding on feces.

·                     Flies can travel miles and may have spikes (dirt) on their legs so particles of whatever they feed on are carried away with them?

·                     If flies’ food was feces of someone suffering from a diarrhea-type disease such as cholera or gastroenteritis, these particles may pass on the disease to others?

·                     Same flies’ next meal is quite likely to be your food. So if bits of feces are left behind on food or drink and eaten by people, the disease is passed on?

·                     One route for intestinal worms to spread diseases is through the soil too and this is especially so for children when crawling or playing in an unpaved compound?

·                     Feces are likely to contain worm eggs and even if you clean your compound, some eggs may remain in the ground?

·                     Did you know that eggs from worms may wait months if not years to hatch and take their destructive roles when conditions become favorable?

·                     Did you know that your body provides the best conditions for disease causing microorganisms to multiply and hence prevention is better?

·                     A tiny amount of feces is enough to cause sickness and a healthy person may excrete millions or even billions of microorganisms every time he defecates?

·                     Fortunately, most microorganisms are harmless, but it only it requires a few of the villainous ones to cause infection?

·                     Did you know that different pathogens differ when it comes to their infective dosages (how many of them can make you sick)?

·                     Did you know that people differ when it comes to resistance to diseases and hence a few pathogens can make someone sick but not another?

·                     It is often wrongly assumed that the feces of young children are harmless?

·                     When people do not have latrines and relieve themselves in the open – in fields or the bush, on the roadside and canals or vacant lots, diseases can be propagated?

·                     As villages and towns grow when there are no latrines, it becomes increasingly difficult for one to find places to defecate in private?

·                     Privacy is usually more important for women than for men?

·                     Till today, a common method of dealing with excreta in many places like our towns is the dry latrine but if run well, the system is reasonably satisfactory for the user?

·                     For most people the best sanitation solution is to have a pit latrine?

·                     The pit latrines are simply a hole in the ground to hold feces and properly handled, there is no pollution to above-ground water.

·                     Disease from pit latrines can be transmitted through other routes such as ground water contamination?

·                     Feces decompose and are converted to gases and liquid, leaving solids behind?

·                     The gases escape to atmosphere or into the soil but solids remain, gradually filling latrines?

·                     Your own health and wellness depend a lot on your community's ability to properly meet the challenges of public health such as hygiene, trash, and sewage disposal?

·                     When you feel sick, it may be because you have something in your body that is causing you to feel sick, and that something can be germs or parasites?

·                     If pit latrines have a rough surface (non smooth surface wood or mud) it may provide a suitable place for hookworms that cause diseases?

·                     Those worms can live in your body and can be passed through in your urine and fecal matter to others making them sick?

·                     You should wear shoes to protect your feet when using the toilet or when walking in mud or soil with wastes?

·                     Toilets and bathing areas are places where you may come in contact with germs and illness?

·                     Diseases that are spread through contact with human waste include: cholera, dysentery, hepatitis, measles, polio, typhoid fever, amoeba, hookworm, roundworm, tapeworm etc?

·                     Toilets should be built away from wells or other water sources?

·                     Fly-breeding in pits is a major public health hazard?

·           There are different ways of controlling fly nuisance; but the cheapest one is to make a lid that exactly fits in the latrine hole and ensuring always replacing when the latrine is not in use?

·                     Emptying a recently filled pit with buckets exposes the workers to great health risks?

·                     One can make two small pit latrines or to divide one into two sections and used for a few years, then the other; and by the time the second pit is full, the excreta in the first pit will be quite safe to take out by hand?

·                     You can use regular chlorine bleach (Clorox) to sanitize your latrine (kill pathogens)?

·                     It is better you use only boiled or otherwise purified water for brushing your teeth in the morning or cleaning your contact lenses?

·                     You can have hot water (disinfected water) by painting jerry cans black, filling them with water, and putting them in the sun’s heat for enough time?

·                     It is good to paint pit latrine vent pipes black and place on the sunny side of the latrine because this heats the air inside the pipe, causing it to rise and drawing air out of the pit thus reducing odor?

For toilets, you may pour 1 cup of Clorox into the bowl, brush, let it stand for 10 minutes; but you need to often change solutions when doing heavy cleaning.

Noah Arre is a Water, Sanitation, Hygiene & Environment Consultant based in Hargeisa.

He can be reached (Global Water Consulting) @ +252634767257

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