|PHAST Step-by-Step Guide: A Participatory Approach for the Control of Diarrhoeal Disease (PHAST - SIDA - UNDP - WB - WHO, 2000, 137 p.)|
|Part I: Introduction to the PHAST|
|Some necessary background concepts|
Quality of life can improve considerably when a communal water supply is replaced by domestic water supplies. Domestic water supplies mean that users have more water for uses such as bathing and watering animals and gardens, and greater privacy for defecation. Benefits such as convenience, privacy and prestige are easily understood and can motivate a community to improve its environment.
However, people often do not understand clearly how health is linked to water and sanitation conditions. So bringing about such understanding can help create long-lasting change. This guide includes non-traditional teaching methods to help you do this.
How to increase health awareness
Health awareness comes about when people can describe how diseases are transmitted in their environment and through their own behaviours. This guide is based on the principle that people can and should understand how diarrhoeal diseases are transmitted, and that this understanding may inspire them to change their hygiene behaviours.
Once people understand how transmission occurs, they can identify the different ways to block the transmission routes. They can also weigh the advantages and disadvantages of blocking those routes in their households and communities. Will it involve a lot of trouble, time and money? What would be the benefit? Is it worth it? Three activities in the guide are built around this principle of understanding. Good and bad hygiene behaviours helps people to examine their existing hygiene behaviours, while How diseases spread and Blocking the spread of disease help them to understand how transmission takes place and how it can be prevented.
A further principle is that it is wise for communities to evaluate their current behaviours and facilities, and to make gradual changes to them. In this way, they can make step-by-step improvements, ensuring that each step is firmly in place (and can be sustained) before moving on to the next step. The Choosing sanitation improvements activity illustrates the process of defining steps for improving hygiene behaviour. (At the same time, communities should also consider factors such as convenience, privacy, status and dignity.)
Through participatory methods and better understanding of how health is related to well-being and community development, a community can become committed to implementing a plan for environmental improvement.