The following was provided by Dr. Isaac, who sees the results of poor sanitation and hygiene daily in his medical profession.
*Poor sanitation and hygiene account for a remarkable proportion of diseases, which would be easily prevented with sustainable cost effective interventions.
*Poor sanitation is due to lack of awareness on basic sanitation and hygienic practices sufficient to promote health for wellbeing of communities, families and individuals.
In 2013, SCEP (Sustainable Community Education Program - the Grow Hope team in Uganda) team in partnership with The Grow Hope moved in to a community, which had high incidents and prevalence of diseases due to poor sanitation. The community had low latrine coverage with poor human excreta disposal that eventually led to water pollution, poor waste management, lacked methods of proper handling and storage of utensils, there was neither hand washing behaviors nor hand washing facilities at all community levels, the community had high infestation of bedbugs, fleas and jiggers with most families sleeping in the same houses with chickens and goats unaware of the health risks. Most families didn’t take care of their houses making them habitable for vectors like mosquitoes, cockroaches and rats.
The above setbacks to sanitary and hygienic homesteads were due to lack of information and matters made worse by lack of exposure.
With the above low standards of sanitation and hygiene, the community had no escape of a high prevalence and incidents of:
· Worm infestation which complicated to severe anemia among children (hook worms), intestinal obstruction etc
· Dysentery and diarrhea with related complications
· Amebiasis , Typhoid, Hepatitis A,
· Scabies, Jigger infestation, skin rashes
· Respiratory infections
· And a generally filthy environment
A sensitization and family support program to improve sanitation, hygiene to reduce incidents and prevalence of preventable diseases due to poor sanitation and hygiene was initiated. People in the communities and in schools were then educated on how to improve sanitation and hygiene using simple socially acceptable technologies with locally available materials
Key information has been about;
· Building latrines and clearing several myths about latrine use by some age groups especially children whose excreta isn’t disposed in latrines but openly dumped, pregnant women not using latrines etc.
· Educated communities about handing washing practices and making of hand washing facilities (tip tap) at homes and schools
· Waste disposal and management
· Setup of a good homestead with (house, kitchen, latrine, sanitation table for utensils, chicken and animal house rubbish pit etc)
· Water storage and conservation
At present, there has been a remarkable improvement in the level of sanitation and hygiene with reduced incidences of such diseases as mentioned above.
This has improved the quality of life with reduced burden of disease.
Grounds for socioeconomic growth will now be favorable since people are healthy and productive while the children will be able to attend school and perform well in schools