A nurse, Mrs. Felecia Adeleye, says that poor sanitation and hygiene by parents result in diarrhoea in children, a major cause of childhood mortality. Adeleye said this while speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Ibadan.
She said: “Diarrhoea has been known to be a major contributor to child mortality in Nigeria. “It is an intestinal tract infection that is caused by a host of bacterial, viral, and parasitic organisms.
“It is characterised by the passage of loose or watery stool and it is attributed to drinking unsafe water and poor hygiene and sanitation. Many cases of diarrhea in children are preventable.”
She said that preventable diarrhoea in children spreads through faeces, contaminated water or person-to-person contact due to poor hygiene and sanitation. “Poor handling of drinking water is significantly associated with increased risk of childhood diarrhoea.
“There is need for mothers to cultivate the habit of simple hygiene behaviours, especially hand-washing with soap before handling baby food and basic sanitation of the home.
“Hand washing with soap is the best way to prevent diarrhoea infections. Where there is no access to potable water, it is advised that water used in preparing food for the baby must be boiled,’’ she said.
According to her, symptoms of diarrhoea include loss of appetite, vomiting, fever and dehydration. “Diarrhoea usually results in fluid loss which can lead to dehydration. Severe dehydration is dangerous; it can cause seizures, brain damage and death.
“It is important to know the signs and symptoms of diarrhoea, which include loose and watery stools, abdominal pain, fever, blood in the stool, mucus in the stool and vomiting.
“For some children, diarrhoea is mild and will go away within a few days but it may last longer in other children. It can make your child lose too much fluid and feel weak.
“Keeping the child properly hydrated with the use of recommended treatment of oral rehydration solution is very important,’’ she said.