Banyuwangi FKM lecturer: important to know the flow of diarrhea transmission in children

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Illustration by Feri Fenoria

UNAIR NEWS – One of the challenges faced by Indonesia, especially in the health sector, is education on water, sanitation and health, also known as water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). In fact, WASH is very influential on the transmission of diarrhea which is still the main killer of children in Indonesia.

With this background, Susy Katikana Sebayang S.P., M.Sc., Ph.D with her team conducted a study using 2012 data from Indonesian Health Demographic Survey (SDKI). The main focus of this study was an analysis on the identification of diarrhea causes in children under 24 months of age and reported for two weeks.

The WASH indicators used in this study include drinking water sources, household water treatment, availability of soap and its use for handwashing, and reports on the disposal of children’s feces.

“From this study, we found that children under 24 months who live in a home environment with unsafe waste disposal practices have a higher tendency to get diarrhea. However, unlike other national or even international research, we did not find a correlation between sanitation, access to water, availability of soap, and water quality improvement with diarrhea, “Susy explained.

One concrete example that has happened in North Jakarta, she continued, is when this urban slum actually succeeded in reducing diarrhea in children aged 6 to 36 months to 49%.

Another possible reason for diarrhea besides WASH is that children under the age of 2 tend to be easily exposed and contaminated, both in their playground and the caregivers.

“This study did not depend on socioeconomic status and other population characteristics, but focuses on non-improved sanitation and the sex of the child. The findings of this study deserve more attention especially on the safe disposal of children’s feces, “concluded Susy.

Susy and her team hoped that the results of this research can be analyzed and considered for the design of policies, implementation and monitoring of sanitation programs in Indonesia. The role of mother in this regard becomes an important point for behavioral change. Sanitation policy will also create awareness on the urgency of providing WASH services to improve health and nutrition for both mothers and newborns.

Author: Tsania Ysnaini Mawardi

Editor: Nuri Hermawan

Details of research available at:

(2016) Association of safe disposal of child feces and reported diarrhea in Indonesia: Need for stronger focus on a neglected risk – International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health – Cronin, A.A., Sebayang, S.K., Torlesse, H., Nandy, R.

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