Reducing sanitation hazards in Fiji

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Recently the Fiji Community-based Sanitation Market (CBSM) members participated in disaster risk reduction training focused on understanding the hazards faced by informal settlements due to poor waste management, poor sanitation (latrines, water supply), and poor drainage. These hazards can contribute to outbreaks of communicable diseases such as Dengue Fever, Typhoid and Chikungunya. Helping families address these hazards in their community is part of the services that the CBSM will provide.

A hazard itself is not a disaster, but it has the potential to become one when it occurs in communities who have certain vulnerabilities and insufficient capacity to respond.
Disaster risk management is about avoiding these hazards through prevention, or limiting the negative impact through preparedness and mitigation activities.

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This training session introduced the concept of disaster risk management to the CBSM members, and provided them with basic knowledge on the hazards and vulnerabilities of poor sanitation. The participants reviewed special hazard picture cards and discussed key information about preventative measures for communicable diseases that can result from poor sanitation and drainage in the community. Small group work was encouraged, with each group presenting the results of their learning at the conclusion of the training.

During the group presentations and discussions emphasis was focused on helping the CBSM make plans on how it can help to reduce the risk and impact of hazards by encouraging practical behaviour change in the community.

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This report was prepared by Kolosa Matebalavu, Environmental and Health Officer for the WPSMIP in Live & Learn Fiji

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