Water is a media for carrying or elimination faecal–oral pathogens, Sanitation is human excreta management and hygiene is behavioural practises towards cleanliness.
The terms are inseparable in health due to that three components are major requirement in elimination of faecal oral route. Sanitation facilities are required for comfort and safe disposal of human excreta, which requires hygiene as a good behavioural in using water for cleanliness purposes.
Water can play a role in spreading or eliminating pathogens if not used with good hygiene practises. For positive impact of water related disease, water and sanitation should be accompanied with good behavioural practice which is hygiene.
Therefore it can be concluded that water, sanitation and hygiene are synonymous because sanitation is hygienic way of promoting health towards water usage for cleanliness.
It is for these reasons that has necessitated the change of title from the Africa Water & Sanitation magazine to the Africa Water, Sanitation & Hygiene in order to continue disseminating high quality information relating to issues of drinking water, conventional water resources (and non-conventional where possible), public health and sanitation.
Drinking Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Education must go together
Drinking water supply and sanitation projects must be supplemented by communication activities as a pre-requisite for the acceptance, ownership and sustainability. The forms of communication and their effects overlap and may involve information, social marketing, advertising, awareness building and educational measures to change the attitude and behaviour of the target group by imparting new knowledge.
Education in hygiene and health is crucial in the implementation of drinking water supply and sanitation projects in order to achieve health and environmental objectives and goals. It is necessary when short and long term health gains are to be achieved in drinking water supply for rural households, centralized piped water supply systems, excrete disposal, waste water disposal, solid waste disposal and storm water drainage. The blockage of the pathogen transmission systems from excreta to human beings cannot be achieved only through the construction of sanitation facilities. Hygiene education plays a great role in ensuring that these transmission systems are eliminated through hygiene practices like washing of the hands with soap after every use of toilet, exchange of baby diapers etc as is recommended by the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation.
The objectives set to reach the MDG goals should therefore not only involve the
development of infrastructure but must be accompanied by communication measures. Hygiene education is a major component of these communication measures and should be part and parcel of every water supply or sanitation project or both.
For the overall sustainability of these projects in terms of social acceptability,
affordability, technical viability and environmental friendliness, the projects should be anchored on the national legal institutions. The planning and implementation should also be within the legal framework conditions with strong linkages to the national policies and concepts. When all these conditions are fulfilled then the up scaling of the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) projects become achievable.