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How to manage children’s excreta in emergencies?


This is a question that I've been asked in the field so I wanted to share it with everyone on KnowledgePoint

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When setting up a WASH response programme it is important to consider the safe management of children’s faeces. Child faeces are generally more dangerous than adults’ faeces as excreta related infections are usually higher in children, with a higher prevalence of diarrhoea and soil transmitted helminth infections.
In the initial WASH assessment phase, interviews with parents or caregivers will help to determine the correct action with regard to the management of children’s faeces.

Main factors to consider are:
Infrastructure – The sanitation hard wear should consider use by children, in some cases specific child-friendly latrines can be built for example: a more open structure, smaller squat hole and a bar for the children to old onto. Non Food Items’s – After consultation with parents, age appropriate containment products can be distributed such as nappies and potties. If disposable nappies are being distributed a safe collection and management system should be in place to prevent the nappies causing increased public health risk. Hygiene Promotion: training and awareness raising measures are crucial to ensure whatever measure are in place work to contain the child’s faeces safely This includes conveying hygiene messages to caregivers and children on the importance of washing hands with soap after contact with child excreta, washing the child after defecation by the caregiver.

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