Infants’ Faeces and Handwashing


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Infants’ Faeces and Handwashing

Infants’ Faeces and Handwashing

Despite advancement in the sanitation field, some uncalled-for myths still remain among the people. In the rural areas of Sindh province, Pakistan, women still consider infant’s faeces as harmless, and therefore, do not wash hands with soap after cleaning the infants, other than just a quick dab or splash of water on contaminated hand.

A recent publication (Infant and Young Child Faeces Management: Potential enabling products for their hygienic collection, transport, and disposal in Cambodia, 2015, WaterSHED; London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Authors: Molly Miller-Petrie, Lindsay Voigt, Lyn McLennan, Sandy Cairncross, Marion Jenkins) shows that in Cambodia, only 20 per cent of children’s faeces were disposed of in an improved sanitation facility according to the 2010 Demographic and Health Survey.

While the publication does not clearly say anything about handwashing with soap by the mothers, one can interpret that only 20 per cent women in Cambodia consider infants’ faeces harmful. While the publication acknowledges that there is evidence of children’s faeces playing a major role in diarrheal disease transmission through the contamination of the household environment, it points out of relatively little priority in this field.

According to the publication, the results of the study demonstrate a need for interventions targeting the hygienic management of faeces of children under five in Cambodia, and particularly for children under two.

UNICEF is the major international player that targets children. It would be helpful, if UNICEF focus on this particular aspect and, adopt widespread plans for ending the myth. Infants’ faeces are harmful and, the mothers should wash their hands with soap, after cleaning the infants.

The publication can be accessed at:

F H Mughal
F H Mughal (Mr.)
Karachi, Pakistan
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