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close this book Homemaking handbook for village workers in many countries
source ref: r0039e.htm
close this folder Section II - What you will teach
close this folder Health
View the document Health is a national problem
View the document Health is your job
View the document Safe drinking water
View the document Disposal of wastes
View the document Household pests
View the document Personal cleanliness
View the document Immunization
View the document Family planning
Open this folder and view contents First aid
View the document Sickness in the home
View the document Teaching health care

Safe drinking water

One of the most important ways you can help village people improve their health is by helping them to get and use safe water. Safe water is free from germs that cause typhoid fever, dysentery, cholera, infectious hepatitis, and other diseases. Even though water may look clear and clean, it can have disease germs in it. You cannot tell if water is safe by looking at it.

How many people in your village get their water from an open well, an irrigation ditch, a river, or a stream ? Water from such unsafe sources will most likely be full of disease germs because people put human excrete in them. Human excrete always has germs in it.

Consult your local health officers about ways to help people get a safe water supply. A sanitary well to supply water for a number of families or the whole village is probably the best way. This can be one of your most important improvement projects.

Unless water comes from a source which has been tested and found safe, boiling is the surest way to make it safe. Boil water for at least 10 minutes. Store it in a clean, covered container. Always use boiled water for drinking, washing fruits and vegetables to be eaten raw, mixing with powdered milk, making ice, and brushing teeth.

Each member of the family should have his own drinking cup. These can easily be made from a tin can, gourd, or coconut shell if cups are not available. Separate cups help prevent the spread of germs from one person to another.


This worker in Thailand is demonstrating how to boil water to make it safe for drinking. She is checking to see that it is really boiling before she starts to count time.