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Relationship of Sanitation and Hygiene to Infectious Diseases

According to a report of the World Health Organization, one tenth of the global disease could

be prevented by improving sanitation, hygiene, and water resources. A rough estimate of 4.0%

mortality was said to be the result of diseases attributed by poor sanitation and hygiene. Each

year, 1.4 million children die worldwide from preventable diarrheal diseases; pregnant women

also deal with similar situation.

Education and promotion in sanitation and hygiene is good way to prevent many infectious

diseases, but most people tend to take it for granted not knowing its effectiveness to help them

reduce the chance of getting diseases. Our hands is considered as a vector of microorganisms,

through it microorganisms can easily get inside our body, causing different kinds of diseases.

The practice of hand washing can remove bacteria, making us less susceptible to diseases. There

are many studies conducted in hand washing, convincing evidences were shown that through

hand washing infectious agents found transiently on hands or spread by the fecal-oral route or from

the respiratory tract can be prevented and reduce the rate of morbidity.

Sanitation also plays an important role in preventing diseases. Improved sanitation reduce

negative health outcome; access to clean and safe drinking water significantly reduced the

problems of mortality of children under five years old. Water is a major factor to sanitation and

hygiene, it is a foundation when overlooked will cause great negative outcome to health.

Therefore, sanitary facilities must be constantly maintained to have a better health.

Good health can substantially reduce the rates of morbidity and the severity of various diseases

and improve the quality of life of huge numbers of people, particularly children, in developing

countries. It does not only benefit our us, but also the economy; improved sanitation include

lower health system costs, fewer days lost at work or at school through illness or through caring

for an ill relative.

The prevention of sanitation and water-related diseases could save some $7 billion per year in

health system costs; the value of deaths averted, based on discounted future earnings adds

another $3.6 billion per year; hygiene promotion to prevent diarrhea is one of the most cost-

effective health intervention in the world at only $3.35 per DALY (Disability-adjusted life year).;

so by practicing and promoting hygiene and sanitation not only we can prevent infectious

diseases, reduce the rate of morbidity but also help the economy save money to fund treatments

for the people who are infected with diseases.



Cheng et al. Environmental Health 2012, 11:4, http://www.ehjournal.net/content/11/1/4