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Facts for Life


Supporting Information


To prevent diarrhoea, all faeces, including those of infants and young children, should be disposed of in a latrine or toilet or buried.

Children and adults can swallow germs that cause diarrhoea if faeces come in contact with drinking water, food, hands, utensils or food preparation surfaces.

Flies that settle on faeces and then on food also transmit the germs that cause diarrhoea. To keep away flies and prevent the spread of germs, (1) dispose of faeces safely in a latrine or toilet, (2) keep the latrine or toilet clean, and (3) cover food and drinking water.

All faeces, even those of infants and young children, carry germs and are dangerous. If children defecate without using the latrine or toilet, their faeces should be cleaned up immediately and disposed of in the latrine or toilet or buried. Afterwards, hands should always be washed with soap and water. If soap is not available, ash and water can be used as a substitute. Men and boys can help women and girls in disposing of the faeces.

If there is no toilet or latrine, adults and children should defecate away from houses, paths, water supplies and places where children play. Faeces should then be buried under a layer of soil. Human and animal faeces should be kept away from water sources.

In communities without toilets or latrines, the community should consider joining together to build such facilities. Households can be encouraged to build their own.