Sanitation and hygiene in rural areas

July 19, 2017

The annual #MandelaDay frenzy of activity in South Africa is a reminder to us that the #fightagainstpoverty is a very real thing and it affects all of us. No country or company can thrive when a large percentage of the population is fighting abject poverty.

Human dignity requires that our basic needs are met and in this regard, food, clothing and shelter are the very minimum requirements. Where people suffer from hunger, there is little opportunity for education or advancement and therefor the cycle continues if left unchecked. That is why corporate South Africa has stepped up to the plate to relieve the critical need in their communities and without which, the problem is arguably insurmountable.

In order to minimise the risk associated with overpopulation, poor infrastructure and little or no access to water, proper hygiene and sanitation are an imperative. Hygiene education comprises a range of activities aimed at changing attitudes and behaviours, to break the chain of disease transmission associated with inadequate water and sanitation. In the context of rural Africa, the ideal of providing every household individually with safe piped water cannot be achieved, and the art of keeping well -hygiene -assumes added importance.

Hygiene education informs community members about the correct use, storage and disposal of water and general hygiene. Supplying clean drinking water and better methods of excreta-disposal do not automatically reduce disease or improve health. Communities need information to be able to make decisions reflecting their particular aspirations, desires and needs.

According to the results of research undertaken specifically in the rural areas of KZN and the Eastern Cape (Hygiene awareness for rural water supply and sanitation projects):

• the level of general knowledge regarding hygiene is high in all the communities but it is not practiced owing to a lack of economic means
• sanitation does not seem to be a high priority for the people in the rural areas – electricity and jobs take priority over sanitation
• there is a lack of specific knowledge regarding the cause, transmission and prevention of water-related and faeces- related diseases. The level of knowledge regarding the treatment of these diseases is high, because of their prevalence.

As specialists in cleaning and hygiene services in South Africa, we have undertaken to do our bit to educate the public about hygiene. Follow our FB page, sign up to our blog and subscribe to our monthly newsletter for free advice and tips. #redalertinaction

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