|UNHCR Guidelines on Selecting and Using Disinfectants (WHO - OMS, 1997, 45 p.)|
As a limited selection of disinfectants permits users to become better acquainted with them and allows stocks to be more easily managed, we can suggest a shortlist of disinfectants suitable for all the needs mentioned in the preceding Chapter.
- ordinary soap,
- T chloramine (sodium tosylchloramide),
- iodine (in the form of iodised polyvidone),
- gentian violet,
- calcium hypochlorite or sodium dichloro-isocyanurate (NaDCC),
- cresol in soapy solution form (Lysol) or same other similar phenol compound.
These six products plus lime in certain specific situations can meet all of the disinfection needs encountered in refugee situations.
The reasons for choosing these products are set out in Appendix A. All the main disinfectants are reviewed there along with arguments justifying their selection or rejection for use in the field.
The characteristics taken into account are effectiveness, polyvalence, stability (in the presence of heat or humidity), ease of preparation, safety (in transport, storage and use) ease of supply and the cost/efficiency ratio.
None of the products selected have all the desired qualities but each has certain advantages in the field which largely outstrip the disadvantages. If there were a single product effective against all germs, which was cheap, stable, non-toxic and non-corrosive, the problem of disinfection in refugee situations would obviously be much simpler.
Among the products proposed, gentian violet and iodine are on the WHO list of essential medicaments. T-chloramine (sodium tosylchloramide) is not on that list but it has been preferred to chlorhexidine for the reasons set out in Appendix A (page 54).
Ordinary soap, calcium hypochlorite, sodium dichloro-isocyanurate and cresol in soapy solution are not on the WHO list of essential drugs but that is because they are not medicaments.