Diseases Poor Sanitation

Have you ever walked into a bathroom and felt privileged? Have you ever acknowledged how lucky you are to have clean water and a toilet that disposes of your waste? 2.3 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation. 650 million people live without safe water. The diseases from poor sanitation can be altering. Fortunately, these diseases and deaths are preventable. Simple solutions such as cleaner water and access to soap can make a world of difference.

Diseases from Poor Sanitation

One of the effects of poor sanitation is disease. Some of the most common are diarrhea, cholera, arsenicosis, typhoid, and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Neglected tropical diseases are a diverse group of communicable diseases that prevail in tropical and subtropical conditions in 149 countries. They affect populations living in poverty, without adequate sanitation and in close contact with infectious vectors and livestock. These include: guinea worm disease, buruli ulcer, trachoma, and schistosomiasis.

Trachoma is the leading cause of infectious blindness in the world. It is caused by ocular infection with the bacterium, Chlamydia trachomatis. It is endemic in fifty-one countries and is responsible for the visual impairment of 1.8 million people with 0.5 million being irreversibly blind. Infection spreads through personal contact such as hands and clothes. It thrives in living conditions that are crowded, lack adequate sanitation, and where flies are considerably present.

Diarrhea is the most important public health problem directly related to water and sanitation. It is caused by a variety of microorganisms including viruses, bacteria, and protozoans. About 4 billion cases of diarrhea cause 1.8 million deaths per year. Over ninety percent, or 1.6 million, are among children under the age of five.

Buruli ulcer is a chronic debilitating skin and soft tissue infection that can lead to permanent disfigurement and disability. It has been reported in thirty-three countries with tropical, subtropical, and temperate climates such as Africa, South America, and Western Pacific regions. Countries such as Japan, China, and Australia have not seen cases of buruli ulcer. Most patients are under the age of fifteen and at least eighty percent of cases detected early can be cured with a combination of antibiotics.

Cholera is an acute, diarrheal caused by the infection of the intestine with the bacterium Vibrio Cholerae. Cholera is usually found in water or food sources that have been contaminated by feces from a person infected with cholera. Cholera is mainly found in places with inadequate water treatment, poor sanitation, and inadequate hygiene. Around 3-5 million people cases and over 100,000 deaths occur each year around the world. Cholera is a major cause of diarrhea throughout the developing world. A global pandemic in Asia, Africa, and Latin America has been ongoing for the past four decades.

The Worlds Sanitation

About forty percent of the world’s population lacks adequate sanitation practices including access to a proper toilet. Open defecation in streets and fields causes bacteria and microbes that can seep into the groundwater and contaminate it. Thus, this can lead to deadly diseases such as diarrhea. The numbers below are from the World Health Organization/UNICEF joint monitoring program.

  • India- 818 million
  • China- 607 million
  • Indonesia- 109 million
  • Nigeria- 103 million
  • Pakistan- 98 million
  • Bangladesh-75 million
  • Ethiopia- 71 million
  • Dominic Republic of Congo- 50 million
  • Brazil-39 million
  • Tanzania- 32 million
  • Sudan-27 million
  • Kenya- 27 million
  • Vietnam-22 million
  • Phillipines-22 million
  • Nepal-20 million
  • Ghana-20 million

The reasons for a lack of sanitation vary greatly depending on the area, people, situation, and etc. However, some common causes of poor sanitation can be: lack of clean water, lack of proper toilet, infrastructure (no adequate sewage system), lack of resources (being able to afford access to proper sanitation such as toilets, soap, etc.), knowledge (no knowledge of proper sanitation practices), little government involvement, and etc.

Preventing Sanitation Based Disease

The effects of poor sanitation can be deadly and may seem like an uphill battle, but all is not lost. Organizations such as Osana have developed a simple solution to help curb the sanitation based illness crisis: soap. Soap can be a game changer and lifesaver in this war on health. Actions as simple as washing your hands not only prevent the spread of disease, but also can cut diarrheal diseases by thirty-sex percent.

Furthermore, soap is a cost effective way to make a big difference in countries that lack sanitation. Besides hand washing, soap can be a cleaning agent in regard to personal hygiene as well. Regular baths with Osana mosquito repellant soap can also help reduce mosquito borne diseases such as malaria, which causes about one million child deaths.

Proper sanitation and hygiene do not have to be a

lost cause. With the proper knowledge, action, and soap, the citizens of said countries can live a healthier and cleaner life. Soap may not solve all the sanitation problems of the world, but it is a step in the right direction that can make a difference and restore dignity.