Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) for Study Session 32

Now that you have completed this study session, you can assess how well you have achieved its Learning Outcomes by answering the questions below. Write your answers in your Study Diary and discuss them with your Tutor at the next Study Support Meeting. You can check your answers with the Notes on the Self-Assessment Questions at the end of this Module.

SAQ 32.1 (tests Learning Outcomes 32.1 and 32.2)

Which type of infectious agent is the cause of each of the following faeco-oral diseases?

A  PoliomyelitisE  Cholera
B  ShigellosisF  Taeniasis
C  GiardiasisG  Amoebiasis
D  Ascariasis


A  Poliomyelitis is caused by the poliovirus

B and E  Shigellosis and cholera are both caused by bacteria

C and G  Giardiasis and amoebiasis are caused by protozoa parasites

D and F  Ascariasis and taeniasis are caused by helminths (worms).

SAQ 32.2 (tests Learning Outcomes 32.2 and 32.5)

Suppose that in the community you are working in, most people defaecate in the open fields.

  • a.How will this increase the transmission of faeco-oral diseases?
  • b.What prevention measures would you encourage this community to apply to reduce the risks?


  • a.Defaecation in the open fields increases the risk of faeco-oral diseases occurring because the soil becomes contaminated with the causal infectious agents. Infection can be transmitted to susceptible members of the community in several ways: via unwashed hands after defaecation, working or playing in the soil; unwashed or inadequately cooked fruit and vegetables grown in contaminated soil; and via flies crawling on faeces and then landing on food, utensils or hands.
  • b.The prevention measures that this community could apply to reduce the risks are to build latrines for every household, dispose of faeces and other wastes safely, avoid open defaecation in fields, and adopt hygienic practices such as thorough handwashing and safe preparation of food.

SAQ 32.3 (tests Learning Outcomes 32.1, 32.3 and 32.4)

A mother brings a two-year-old boy to your Health Post and tells you that he has been passing loose watery stools several times a day for the last ten days. She has not seen any blood in the stools. The child appears lethargic, his eyes are sunken, he is not interested in drinking, and when you pinch the skin of his abdomen it takes more than two seconds for the skin to return to the normal position.

  • a.How should this child’s condition be classified?
  • b.What actions should you take?
  • c.What will you explain to the mother about her child’s condition?


  • a.This child is suffering from acute watery diarrhoea with signs of severe dehydration.
  • b.You should advise the mother to take him to a health centre or hospital urgently. Give her enough ORS solution for the journey and tell her to feed sips of it to the child on the way. Go with them if you can, or send a clearly written referral note.
  • c.Explain to the mother that the child’s body has lost so much fluid and salts that his body systems are no longer functioning normally and his condition is potentially life-threatening. This is why he appears lethargic, his eyes are sunken, and his skin doesn’t go back quickly when pinched.

SAQ 32.4 (tests Learning Outcomes 32.2 and 32.5)

A village proudly installs a protected pump to improve the safety of its water source. What other measures could they take to reduce the indirect transmission of faeco-oral diseases via contaminated water?


In addition to installing the protected water pump, the villagers should also use clean containers to collect and store water and clean drinking cups; wash their hands regularly and avoid their hands touching drinking water; and boil water before drinking it, or using it to wash fruit and vegetables, or mixing formula milk for babies. These measures will reduce the indirect transmission of faeco-oral diseases by contaminated water.

Summary of Study Session 32