FRESH Tools for Effective School HealthFirst Edition
If the water is stored, it is extremely important to protect it from contamination. The containers used for storing water should be kept clean and rinsed regularly with boiling water or washed out with a bleach solution (one part liquid bleach to five parts of water). After washing with a bleach solution, the surfaces should be rinsed with safe water. Cleaning and disinfecting of tanks should be carried out at least once every six months. The containers should be provided with a tap and a cover to prevent insects, dust and other possible contaminants from entering.
Water taken directly from river channels or lakeshores without treatment is a major health hazard.
High priority should be given to observing the principles of sanitary waste disposal. Human excreta always contain large numbers of microorganisms, some of which may cause diarrhoeal diseases such as cholera, typhoid and hepatitis A. When people defecate in the open air, there are numerous ways through which these microorganisms can get into food and water. Once in food, their numbers can increase rapidly in a few hours.
During the rainy season, excreta may be washed away by rain-water and can run into wells and streams. The microorganisms in the excreta will then be carried into water, which may be used for drinking or cooking.
Disposing of excreta safely, isolating it from flies and other insects, and preventing faecal contamination of water supplies would greatly reduce the spread of disease.
Lack of good sanitation may lead to contamination of clean water sources and food.
In many cultures, it is believed that children's faeces are harmless and do not cause disease. This is not true. A child's faeces contain as many germs as an adult's, and it is very important to collect and dispose of children's faeces quickly and safely.
Appropriate facilities for excreta disposal at primary schools is a basic need.
In the absence of such facilities, there is a high risk of occurrence of diarrhoeal diseases through contamination of water and food. As part of the normal school curriculum, children should be taught how to use excreta disposal facilities, about the dangers of defecating on the ground and about the importance of thorough hand-washing with soap or ash after any contact with excreta.