Diarrhea: radio spots on a serious disease

HealthHygiene and sanitation

Notes to broadcasters

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According to the World Health Organization, diarrhea kills about 2 million children every year, and accounts for one child death in every five. Each year there are four billion cases of diarrhea worldwide.

The theme of and the message behind these radio spots is that diarrhea can be prevented by changing our activities. Diarrhea is usually a symptom of an infection caused by bacteria, a virus or a parasite. The most frequent causes of diarrhea are food poisoning, drinking contaminated water, and poor hygiene.

Diarrhea is often caused by transmission of a bacteria, virus or parasite from faeces to the mouth. Good hygiene means changing personal behaviour to block the spread of the microorganisms that cause diarrhea. Good hygiene can be achieved by building and using latrines, and by washing hands with soap after going to the toilet, before preparing food and before eating.


Spot # 1: Diarrhea: you can protect yourself!
Caution! Diarrhea is a disease that kills. Protect yourself and your children by keeping your environment clean. Wash your hands with soap after defecating and after handling children’s faeces, before preparing food and before eating. Keep your latrines clean. You can protect yourself against diarrhea!

Spot # 2: Avoid diarrhea by building modern latrines
Dirty and unprotected latrines can attract flies to our homes. These flies settle on faeces and contaminate the food we eat. So remember to build, clean and cover latrines.

Spot # 3: Do not defecate in the open

Hey, Raymond! What are you doing out here in the bushes?

Oh John, I felt uncomfortable where I was. So I decided to come here in the bushes. Besides, faeces is a good fertilizer.

Oh! You’re not serious! John, we have to avoid putting our faeces everywhere. You know, many people become sick with diarrhea this way.

But how?

In many ways. Rainfall can carry faeces into rivers and streams that people use for washing or drinking. A fly can land on the faeces, then land on a ready-to-eat fruit!

You can reduce the risk of diarrhea. Build latrines and keep them clean and covered. Wash your hands with soap after defecating, after handling children’s faeces, and before preparing food or eating.

Spot # 4:
Diarrhea is a serious disease, which is caused by tiny disease organisms.
People get diarrhea when these tiny organisms are transmitted from faeces to the mouth.

Disease can enter the mouth in several ways:

  • Directly from one person to another through unwashed hands or fingers
  • Indirectly from food handled by a person with dirty hands
  • Directly when food is handled with dirty hands

You can protect yourself and your family from diarrhea by washing your hands with soap after defecating, after handling children’s faeces, and before preparing food or eating.


Contributed by: Frederic Takang, Abakwa FM, Cameroon, a Farm Radio International radio partner.

Reviewed by: Alan Etherington, independent consultant in water, sanitation and hygiene promotion, and ex-WaterAid staff.

Information sources

WaterAid, undated. Technology Notes.