Safe Water and Hand Washing Help Ugandans Control Diarrheal Diseases
“We used to receive at the Bushokori health center many diarrheal cases affecting children from Ukumeka village in Mbumboli,” explains Mr. Wanyire Steven, community resource person in Bushokori. “But after building the tippy taps and using Aquasafe® for treating drinking water, few children are getting diarrhea now.”
The Bushokori health center is located in one of the two districts that was targeted by the Uganda Health Marketing Group’s (UHMG) initiative to control diarrheal diseases among children. UHMG – a Ugandan non-profit organization which is leading the USAID-funded AFFORD project in partnership with JHU∙CCP – is using a “model village approach” in its efforts.
In this approach, community stakeholders are trained and mobilized to conduct health interventions that are critical for changing key behaviors.
The health interventions targeted? Hand washing with soap and safe drinking water.
With guidance from UHMG, community members now not only understand the importance of hand washing with soap after visiting the toilet but, thanks to the construction of tippy taps by community members, 25% of households in the two districts have hand-washing facilities.
In addition, the village’s community resource person provides UHMG’s Aquasafe® water treatment tablets to the community. This action alone has protected over 5,000 children under five years in the two districts from diarrheal diseases.
UHMG’s model village approach engages all levels of community players, emphasizing the need for household members to take charge of their own health and take appropriate actions for prevention, treatment, care, support and advocacy for health services provision.