Water, sanitation, and hygiene contribute to children’s overall health. For children to be healthy, it’s crucial for them to have clean water and live in a sanitary, hygienic environment.
Watch this video and download the resources below to learn about holistic and effective clean water, sanitation, and hygiene practices.
I’m Tracy Haas, and I’ve been working with the Miracle Foundation since 2006. I’m a family physician by training, but also did a degree in Global Public Health, as well as Tropical Medicine.
When people ask me what a doctor does to work with the Miracle Foundation, oftentimes they think I am approaching with medications and vaccines. I believe that the most important thing that we can do from a medical standpoint is actually look at health care from a global sense.
The things that I see most commonly are stunted growth, underweight, anemia, frequent upper respiratory infections and skin infections. What all of these five things have in common are that they’re diseases of poverty.
And the take-home message to me is that if we all work on elevating the standards of living for these children, these diseases of poverty start to wash away.
The first thing that comes to mind is sanitation and there’s a lot that goes into sanitation – hygiene, clean water, and then eventually nutrition.
When I go and visit where children are living in another country, I look for standing water in the yard, as this be a breeding ground for mosquitoes. When we see a lot of malaria in that area, it is important to make sure that there is no standing water or that standing water is being treated. This is really important.
Another piece to that is hygiene. Is there access to clean water where children can wash their hands after using a toilet? Are they able to wash their hands prior to eating? And is that water that they’re drinking clean?
In many countries, we find that the groundwater is contaminated by a variety of different types of organic and inorganic pathogens.
So, it is important for wells to be tested on a regular basis if this is the primary source of drinking water. We want to make sure that we have access to a testing facility or testing kits to regularly check the water and then purify it or filter it or boil it prior to drinking. This will help cut down on the number of illnesses that the children will have over the years.
Sanitation and hygiene also play a role in the overall nutrition.
- Ensure that whoever is preparing the food is doing so in a way that cuts down on cross-contamination.
- Ensure that food surfaces and bowls where food is being prepared are adequately cleaned and that food is being stored at proper temperatures.
- Make sure that if food is being prepared indoors, there is proper ventilation.
- If food is being prepared outdoors, make sure that what is being used for the source of heat is being protected from creatures and critters that are outside, as well as heat elements.
Overall, the entire environment of sanitation needs to be kept in mind when we’re looking at what the children are consuming.