Dangers of Unsafe Child Feces Disposal

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By Dr Kalpesh PatilPediatrics

What are Feces?

Feces are Solid or Semi Solid metabolic waste of the digestive system, including Bacteria.

What does the statement ‘SAFE DISPOSAL OF CHILD FECES’ implies?

The safest way to dispose of a child’s feces is to help the child use a toilet or latrine or for very young children, to put or rinse their feces into a toilet or latrine. These disposal methods are referred to as SAFE, whether the feces is deposited into an unimproved or an improved toilet or latrine. Other methods are considered UNSAFE.

Safe disposal of child feces is as important as disposal of adult feces in order to prevent self, our kids and also the society from diseases arising out of its exposure. Kids are more susceptible to these diseases.

Type of Disposal Practices:

  1. Left in the Open
  2. Buried
  3. Thrown into garbage
  4. Put into drain or ditch
  5. Put into toilet or latrine
  6. Use of toilet/latrine by child

Feces management becomes more important due to the lack of improved sanitation all across and the common practice of unsafe child feces disposal.

There is a common belief that the feces of infants and young children are not harmful but this may not necessarily be true. Let’s understand the potential risk associated to unsafe feces disposal:

  1. There are fair amount of evidence that children’s feces could be more harmful than even adult’s due to higher prevalence of diarrhea and pathogens such as Hepatitis A and Rotavirus.
  2. The unsafe disposal of children’s feces may be an important contaminant in household environments, posing a high risk of exposure to young infants.
  3. Wherever children’s feces are not being safely disposed off, the feces and the accompanying pathogens may also be ingested.
  4. Poor child feces management can result in substantial health impacts in children, including a higher prevalence of diarrheal disease, intestinal worms, enteropathy, malnutrition, and death in extreme cases.
  5. Worm infestation can reduce children’s intellectual capacity, which affects the productivity of your kid later in life. Studies suggest that unsafe child feces disposal is significantly associated with environmental enteropathy and impaired growth in a pediatric population.

Environmental enteropathy is defined by abnormal intestinal morphology, reduced intestinal barrier function and increased intestinal inflammation resulting in malabsorption of nutrients and growth faltering in children. This disorder is thought to occur from unsanitary environmental conditions, leading to repeated exposures to enteric pathogens. Keep the environment clean and stay healthy!!! If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a pediatrician and ask a free question.