Under the ASTCF Primary Health Care initiative, hygiene and sanitation interventions supplement innovative and comprehensive water chain interventions to ensure safe water from the source and into the home.

Poor sanitation and hygiene is a cross-cutting health concern in all rural Ugandan villages. Poor sanitation leads to diarrhea diseases, which are responsible for 17% of all deaths of children under five (World Health Organization). Poor personal and household hygiene can lead to trachoma, increased rate of infections, and a number of other diseases. A home with standing water can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes and increase malaria rates not just for that family, but for the neighbors as well.

We educate our village communities about the importance of household hygiene, personal hygiene, and sanitation through outreaches. We also have partnerships with local schools, encouraging children to adopt personal habits of hygiene, and to help their schools and their families adopt small sanitation measures like having ‘tippy-taps’ outside of latrines. Tippy taps are locally-constructed hand washing stations that make it easy for people to follow good hygiene practices.

To teach about the importance of safe water, we hold village outreaches about the importance of gathering water from clean water sources (even if it means a longer walk to the source), and importance of treating — or at least boiling — water intended for consumption. We also educate villagers about the nature and danger of water-borne diseases contracted by drinking contaminated water. At times we bring in local community based organizations (CBOs) to do educational performances or outreaches about safe water, similar to the CBO performances given on HIV/AIDS or malaria.

Throughout the years that we work in a village, ASTCF continues to facilitate safe water outreaches. Village Health Teams also sensitize the community about the dangers of contaminated water, and how to best to treat water for consumption.