4.2.2  Protection against infection

Healthful housing is essential for the prevention of a number of diseases that you have learned about in the Communicable Diseases Module. Poor housing is associated with a wide range of diseases. Categories of communicable diseases due to poor housing include:

  • Diarrhoeal diseases (acute watery diarrhoea, dysentery, shigellosis, typhoid fever and other faeco-orally transmitted diseases) because of poor personal hygiene, absence or poor utilisation of latrines and poor waste management.
  • Tuberculosis, measles and other droplet infections due to poor ventilation and crowding.
  • Acute and chronic lung diseases due to indoor/cooking smoke. Indoor smoke causes eye infection and irritation.
  • Skin infections such as scabies and ringworm due to crowding as a result of limited housing space.
  • Typhus fever and relapsing fever are possible due to crowding. Lice can easily travel from an infected person to the next nearby one.
  • Disturbance of human comfort as a result of the bites of insects such as bedbugs and fleas.
  • Breeding sites of rats in poor housing.

We want to make sure that our housing provides the necessary service and facilities to ensure the prevention of communicable diseases and protection of our health. These are summarised in Table 4.1. Household hygiene, personal hygiene, food hygiene and safe water supply are critical interventions for the prevention of infections in rural areas.

Table 4.1  Housing facilities and services needed for protection against infections.

NeedsFacilities/services needed in the residential environment
Drinking water supply and its safe handlingAccess to protected water source; safe household water storage and utilisation
Safe human waste managementPresence and proper utilisation of latrines
Safe solid waste managementPresence of solid waste storage and disposal
Safe liquid waste managementPresence of liquid waste removal facilities (seepage pit, drainage pit)
Maintenance of personal hygiene practicePresence of handwashing facilities
Food safetyPresence of hygienic kitchen; proper storage and handling of kitchenware
Vector control (flies, bedbugs, fleas)Application of environmental controls; periodic cleaning of floors and walls; separate animal shed; proper dung management

You will learn more about these facilities and services in later sessions of this Module.

4.2.1  Satisfaction of physiological needs

4.2.3  Protection against accidents