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WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene)

Listen to Dr Val Curtis describe WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) and how it is fundamental to promoting and maintaining child health.

Water, sanitation and hygiene, or WASH, are fundamental to promoting and maintaining child health. Just one gram of human faeces can contain a billion microbes, which can in turn, through faeco-oral transmission, cause a range of infections and diseases. Here we discover from Dr Val Curtis how promotion of positive WASH behaviours can prevent children from becoming sick.

Hygiene is the way in which behaviour stops one person from transmitting a disease to another and can be practiced in a variety of different ways, from washing hands with soap to building toilets.


The video demonstrates that ‘disgust’ is a powerful emotion that affects WASH behaviours. Choose a specific practice, such as handwashing. Can you think of any creative ways to persuade more people to wash their hands? What about other practices? Would any other factors influence the success of your approach, such as culture or religion?

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Improving the Health of Women, Children and Adolescents: from Evidence to Action

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