Is human waste a problem near your home?
Look around you. Think about the places where people usually make waste.
Maybe the men defecate or urinate close to the river early in the morning. The women usually go behind the bushes for privacy.
Children go everywhere!
After you defecate, flies walk on your feces. When flies walk on feces they get disease germs on their feet. Then they walk on your food.
What will happen if you eat that food?
When you eat the food you also eat the germs that were stuck to the flies’ feet. Then you get sick.
How can you prevent this? How can you stop getting diarrhea?
Here’s one thing you can do. You can build a latrine. A latrine keeps flies away from human waste so that fewer disease germs are spread from place to place. The result is that there will be fewer diseases – less diarrhea, less worms, less cholera, and less typhoid fever.
A latrine should be at least 50 paces or steps (15 metres) away from all water sources – that means 50 paces away from the well or river. And it should be at least 20 paces from your house. The latrine should not empty into the household water supply.
If there is no latrine available, dig a small hole away from the house before defecating. Cover it with earth afterwards.
No one should urinate or defecate near ponds, wells or rivers. Everyone, even the children, should use a latrine and use it correctly. Remind your children to use the latrine. They will if you do.
And after you use a latrine always remember to wash your hands with soap or ash, and some water.
Contributed by: Jennifer Pittet, Managing Editor, DCFRN.
Reviewed by: Dr. Elizabeth Hillman, International Health Consultant, Quebec, Canada.
“Village-level sanitation programmes in Zimbabwe,” Peter Morgan, Waterlines, Volume 6, No. 3, 1988. Intermediate Technology Publications, 103-105 Southampton Row, London WC1B 4HH, United Kingdom.
Water, gardens and health: a guide for community educators, Stephen Minkin, 1992. United Nations Development Program, One United Nations Plaza, New York, New York 10017, U.S.A.