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< prev - next > Sanitation and Cleanliness for a Healthy Environment (Printable PDF)
4 Sanitation and Cleanliness for a Healthy Environment
Promoting sanitation
Many diseases are spread from person to person by germs in feces. Some experts
believe health problems from poor sanitation can be prevented only if people change
their personal habits, or “behaviors,” about staying clean. But this idea often leads to
failure because it does not consider the barriers that people face in their daily lives,
such as poverty or lack of access to clean water. Then when behavior does not change,
people are blamed for their own poor health.
Other experts look for technical solutions, such as modern toilets that flush water.
Technical solutions often come from outside a community and may not fit the
traditions or conditions of the community. Sometimes they create more problems than
they solve!
The diseases caused by germs from poor hygiene and sanitation will not be
prevented if people are blamed for their own poor health, or if only technical solutions
are promoted. To improve health in a lasting way, health promoters must listen
carefully and work together with people in the community.
When communities use hygiene and sanitation methods that fit their real needs and
abilities, they will enjoy better health.