WASH Interventions Key to Reaching Africa ’s Child Health Milestones

Experts say proper hygiene, especially during the first 1,000 days of a child’s life is critical. Credit: Joyce Chimbi/IPSBy Joyce ChimbiNairobi, Kenya, Feb 15 2022 (IPS) For two days in a row back in 2018, four-year-old Calvin Otieno suffered from diarrhoea and vomiting, and his mother responded by giving him a salt solution. Pearl Otieno tells IPS that diarrhoea among children in Kibera, the largest urban informal settlement, is commonplace. A mixture of salt and warm water is often the go-to remedy. “He did not seem to get worse, but he was not getting better either. He lay on the floor too weak to play,” she says. It was too late by the time Otieno realized the magnitude of the situation and rushed her son to the nearby Mbagathi Hospital. Kibera has long been synonymous with ‘flying toilets’, where residents relieve themselves in bags during nighttime and throw them away at dawn because they lack toilets inside their homes and fear using public toilets due to insecurity. “Open defecation, flying toilets, lack of water and money to buy soap, people dumping household and human waste in open spaces is the life that children in the slums are exposed to,” says Nelson Mutinda, a Community Health Volunteer working hand-in-hand with a local NGO. But Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) challenges are not limited to informal settlements in this East African nation. Overall, even though Kenyans have access to safe drinking water at 59 percent, according to UNICE...
Source: IPS Inter Press Service - Health - Category: International Medicine & Public Health Authors: Tags: Africa Development & Aid Featured Headlines Health Inequity Poverty & SDGs TerraViva United Nations IPS UN Bureau Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) WASH Source Type: news