What impact does poor hygiene have on health?
When people are denied access to clean water and decent toilets their hygiene and health suffer.
Poor hygiene means children get sick and miss school, adults can't work to support their families and patients are at risk in health centres. Whole communities miss out on opportunities to improve their lives.
In fact, many get no chance at life at all. Every two minutes a child under five dies from diarrhoeal diseases caused by lack of safe water, sanitation and poor hygiene practices.
So when a community gets clean water and decent toilets for the first time, they also have the power to change their hygiene habits. They can keep themselves and their environment clean, stay healthy and stop diseases spreading, and live dignified lives.
What do we mean when we talk about hygiene?
Hygiene can be hard to define as it covers so many behaviours, from personal hygiene like handwashing, food hygiene and menstrual hygiene, to the clean use of toilets and the safe use of water. Some groups of people are also more affected by poor hygiene – especially people with disabilities, young girls, women and babies.
Whether it's after going to the toilet, before eating or when you're preparing a meal, washing your hands is one of the easiest ways to prevent the spread of disease.
How WaterAid promotes good hygiene
We know through experience that there's no one-size-fits-all approach, and simply explaining the importance of good hygiene isn't enough to make lasting change happen. That's why we listen to people to understand what really drives them to take up new hygiene habits.
Global Handwashing Day
On 15 October join us in supporting the #CleanHandsForAll campaign and show you agree that no one should have their access denied to handwashing.
Making good hygiene normal
See the effects a simple toilet and clean water can have on the hygiene, health and happiness of whole communities.
Shop our range of e-gifts, from taps to pumps to basins, and give someone a present and a future.