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close this bookFood, Water and Family Health: A Manual for Community Educators (UNDP - WHO, 1994, 108 p.)
close this folderUnit 2: Coping with some of our special health problems
View the documentDiarrhoea
View the documentGuinea worm (for parts of Africa and India)
View the documentSchistosomiasis
View the documentMosquitos
View the documentAIDS

Schistosomiasis

“Schistosomiasis (sometimes called bilharzia) is a terrible illness caused by people who have the disease urinating or defecating in water,” the school teacher told us.

“People with schistosomiasis suffer from swollen bellies with pain in the abdomen. They will often have blood in their urine.”

“This disease will disappear if no one urinates or defecates in or near water. It is that simple,” the teacher told us.


Figure

“Schistosomiasis worm eggs are carried in urine and people’s faeces.”

“That is easy to say, but how are we going to get children to follow this rule?” said one mother.

“Mothers are children’s first and greatest teachers,” a neighbour replied.

“Even the urine from young children can carry tiny worms which make others sick,” the teacher explained.

“Older children can see to it that younger ones urinate before playing or swimming in water.

“We have posters in school that children made about preventing the ‘bloody urine disease’.”

“Did you hear the Schisto Song on radio,” some boys shouted before singing:

You can play and splash
when you take a bath,
but water can be mean.

If you have to pee go to a latrine,
never in a river, swamp or stream.

For “one” and “two”
a latrine will defend you,
from bloated bellies and
the bloody urine disease.

Suggestions

Arrange with the health worker and the school teacher to hold a poster drawing competition for children on the subject “how to prevent schistosomiasis”. The best posters could be displayed in the community.

Discussion

Do many children in your community have swollen bellies and blood in their urine?

Are children afraid to use the latrines because the hole is too big, or because they are dark and smelly?