Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) for Study Session 14

Now that you have completed this study session, you can assess how well you have achieved its Learning Outcomes by answering these questions.

SAQ 14.1 (tests Learning Outcomes 14.1 and 14.2)

Give three reasons why emergencies can put people at greater risk of waterborne disease.


You may have mentioned any three of the following reasons why emergencies can lead to increased risk of waterborne disease:

  • Water supply systems may be broken or contaminated so people only have unsafe water to drink.
  • Lack of latrines or other safe method for disposing of human waste forces people to defecate in the open.
  • Disruption of normal routine and regular habits means that people may not wash their hands at critical times.
  • Flies and other disease vectors may increase in the disturbed conditions following an emergency.
  • Some emergencies will force people out of their homes to refugee camps which may be in locations with insufficient resources to meet people’s needs. Overcrowding can add to the increased health risk in these camps.
  • Displacement of people may possibly expose them to new pathogens.

SAQ 14.2 (tests Learning Outcome 14.3)

Interventions for WASH emergencies can be divided into three distinct phases. What are these three phases? Consider each of the following actions and identify in which of the three phases it would be actioned:

  • Production and storage of communication materials.
  • Restoring interrupted essential services.
  • Contact partners in the media who can help deliver important messages to the community.
  • Re-establishing of transportation routes.
  • Get information and key messages to affected people quickly.
  • Providing food and shelter for those displaced by the incident.
  • Designing a communication plan.
  • Create opportunities for those affected by the emergency to participate in the response.


The three phases of emergency WASH communication are preparedness, response and recovery or post-emergency phases. For each of the actions given, the appropriate phase is as follows:

  • Production and storage of communication materials – preparedness phase.
  • Restoring interrupted essential services – responses and recovery phases.
  • Contact partners in the media who can help deliver important messages to the community – preparedness and response phases.
  • Re-establishing of transportation routes – response and recovery phases.
  • Get information and key messages to affected people quickly – response phase.
  • Providing food and shelter for those displaced by the incident – response phase.
  • Designing a communication plan – preparedness phase.
  • Create opportunities for those affected by the emergency to participate in the response – response phase.

SAQ 14.3 (tests Learning Outcome 14.4)

Look at the suggestions given in Section 14.3.1 of questions you might ask as you undertake a rapid assessment of hygiene behaviour. Select four questions which you think would be most helpful in identifying the key practices that are putting people at risk. How might the answers to these questions help in identifying the key high risk behaviours? What actions could help mitigate the risks? Present your answer as a table, with one column for the key question, a second column for how the answers could help identify the key practices, and a third column for the actions.


Most of the questions listed would help to identify the key practices which are putting people at risk, but you have probably selected four of the six most crucial questions listed in the table below.

Key questionHow answers to this question could helpActions to mitigate the risks
What are the common health-related practices among the affected population and how have these been affected by the emergency? Identify what has become more of a risk now that the emergency situation has arisenTarget the behaviour communication interventions at these specific practices
What are the current practices on the key hygiene behaviours such as washing hands after defecation? Identify if handwashing has been compromised as a result of the emergency and whether there has been an increase in the practice of open defecationProvide handwashing facilities and latrines
What method is being used for disposal of children‘s faeces? Identify if children’s faeces are a source of infectionUsing appropriate communication channels, explain that children’s faeces are no different from adult faeces as a health risk
What practices are being used for storage and handling of water and of food? Identify whether water and food could be getting contaminated and could therefore be an additional source of infection.Provide storage containers and explain why correct storage is important to prevent contamination
How is the community disposing of their solid waste? Identify whether solid waste might be an additional source of infection or encouraging disease vectors such as fliesEstablish a waste collection site and organise proper disposal e.g. burning
Does the community have access to water containers with lids/cooking utensils/mosquito nets/soap/sanitary protection/blankets/bathing facilities? Identify particular items which need to be provided urgentlyProvide and distribute required items

Summary of Study Session 14