Emily Rand is a water supply and sanitation specialist at the World Bank, who also teaches about the design, implementation, and evaluation of WASH programs at George Washington University in Washington, DC. In her recent conversation with Global Waters Radio, Rand discusses key findings from recent research produced by the World Bank and UNICEF in the growing public health field of child feces management. She also shares examples of improved caregiver behaviors and programs to promote those behaviors.
Poor child feces management can result in substantial health impacts in children, including a higher prevalence of diarrheal disease, intestinal worms, enteropathy, malnutrition, and death. For that reason, safe disposal of children’s feces is as essential as that of adults’ feces.
“The behavior of the children’s caregiver is critical to disposing of their feces safely and shaping the child’s toilet training.”
The joint UNICEF-World Bank analysis showed that more than 50 percent of households with children under age three reported that their children’s feces were unsafely disposed of. Even among households with improved toilets or latrines, some unsafe child feces disposal behavior was reported. Rand tellsGlobal Waters Radio one of the major obstacles to improving this situation is the myth or common belief that children’s feces are not harmful, when in fact, exposure to children’s feces can pose a greater public health threat than exposure to adults’ feces.
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