Women in agriculture are faced with numerous challenges and problems circulating their livelihoods daily. Some of the challenges they face include, harsh living conditions and are often judged by society on how they should appear.
According to the United Nations, ‘’rural women account for a great proportion of the world’s agricultural labour force, produce majority of food grown, especially in subsistence farming and perform most of the unpaid care work in rural areas” yet their struggle remains vastly unchanged.
To this end, personal hygiene is one of the major challenges that rural women are faced with. For one to be well presented and to maintain a clean image in society, one has to make use of basic toiletry products that are not only essential for aesthetics and beauty but very critical in fighting harmful bacteria , illnesses, and help reduce chances of getting infected as a result of poor hygiene, which may lead to the development of diseases.
The Australian Department of Health stipulates that “the human body can provide a place for disease-causing germs and parasites to grow and multiply, these places include the skin and in and around the opening of the body. It is less likely that germs and parasites will get inside the body if people have good personal hygiene’’.
Poor personal hygiene is one of the challenges that women in agriculture are facing, as a result, they are more at risk and are exposed to contacting infections caused by germs and parasites. Normally these affect the skin, the intestines and the worst being, the genital area. As such, under these conditions women are susceptible to developing Vaginosis; a condition wherein an overgrowth of one of several bacteria naturally found in the vagina which may lead to STIs, preterm birth, infection risk after gynaecologic surgery and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). In addition, lack of personal hygiene can be detrimental in causing pathogenic bacteria, to which may result in the following infections:
According to Wikipedia one of the bacterial diseases with the highest disease burden is tuberculosis, caused by the bacterium mycobacterium tuberculosis, which kills about 2 million people a year, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. hhttps://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/pathogenic-bacteria
Pneumonia is an infection in one or both lung that causes inflammation in your lung’s sacs or alveoli making it difficult to breath. The most common bacterial type that causes the infection is streptococcus pneumoniae. Early signs of pneumonia include fever, coughing and shortness of breath.
Cholera is one of the bacterial diseases caused by a bacterium called cholerae, it causes severe diarrhoea and dehydration to the body which can result to death. Contaminated water and food are the primary source of cholera. Water Sanitation and Environmentally-related hygiene stipulates that hundreds of millions of people do not have access to improved sources of drinking water, worldwide, there are 1.6 million deaths per year attributed to diseases spread through unsafe water ,poor sanitation and lack of hygiene’’.https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/hygiene/ldc/hygiene_challenges.html.
It is evident that the toll of these infections and diseases are rife among rural communities and especially women who are the primary bearers of families. To such, they remain at great risk of contracting bacterial infection due to, poor personal sanitation, and lack of hygiene products needed for everyday use due to unfavourable economic conditions.
We call on you to lend a hand and help improve the livelihoods of women in agriculture by donating any of the following: sanitary pads, deodorant, toothpaste, soap, and face cloth.
Drop off your donations at our offices here or adopt a similar campaign in your area of work, at school and/or in your community.
By: Witness Mbali Motha