Each year, a lot of resources are spent trying to modify human behaviour. While some intervention strategies are successful, many fall short of their intended goals. Research shows that those interventions most likely to achieve desired outcomes are based on a clear understanding of the targeted health behaviours and the environmental context in which they occur. Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) has been successfully used by various health promotion programs to improve the well being of target populations.
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) related diseases contribute to high mortality and morbidity rates in emergency and post-emergency situations. Even in the absence of an emergency, diarrhoea kills over 30,000 children per week worldwide. During protracted war and conflict in particular diarrhoeal diseases can often kill more people than the conflict itself.
There is no doubt that disasters in the recent past have become a major global concern and challenge. Increasing disasters are attributed to a number of factors, mainly of human origin, such as environmental degradation; rapid population increase with subsequent exponential expansion of urban centres and other related factors; all these leading to increased population vulnerabilities.
In recent years, there has been emerging evidence showing the need for integration of WASH and nutrition programmes in order to achieve greater impact (e.g. on reduced stunting and open defecation) in both emergency and development contexts. SDG 2 (End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture) and SDG 6 (Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all) articulate the need for achieving sustainable and optimal WASH and nutrition outcomes.
Drinking water comes from a variety of sources including public water systems, private wells, or bottled water. Ensuring safe and healthy drinking water may be as simple as turning on the tap from a regulated public water supply system. Other water sources may require some form of treatment before drinking for example the use of water filter, a check on water fluoridation, or an inspection to ensure a septic tank is not too close to a private well. It is important to know where drinking water comes from, how it has been treated, and if it is safe to drink.