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Minimalist Urine-diverting Dry Toilets to control fecal transmission of Ebola

Ebola is transmitted via bodily fluids, including feces, plus it causes diarrea, so why is no one talking about all the open defecation in the affected countries? This Minimalist Urine-diverting Dry Toilet can be done at next to no cost to contain this contagious material long enough for the virus to be destroyed, certainly less than 6 months in the Tropics, without toxic chemicals. So many other diseases and parasites are also transmitted via open defecation and untreated sewage.

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Ebola is transmitted via bodily fluids, including feces, plus it causes diarrea. A detention time of 6 months in the Tropics would certainly be longer than necessary to eliminate this virus in the relatively dry and aerated conditions of a UDDT (especially if the feces are stored in woven, polypropylene sacks, which we may like to store in a locked room or bury in the ground, in this case of Ebola). Urine can safely be soaked into holes in the ground (preferably near fruit trees).

I do not understand why no one is talking about sanitation in the fight against Ebola, what with all the open defecation and the virus causing diarrea.

This minimalist design of UDDT could be deployed quickly at minimal cost:

An emergency like this can be a great time for local residents to learn to live more sustainably. This would also be an excellent opportunity to teach the world something about how to live in more harmony with nature.

A thread on the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance Forum:

No-cost #toilets to control #Ebola which is also transmtd via feces #ecosan #sanitation @WHO
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"Hi Rebecca, would you like to help me promote this idea? Do you know how to click this up and actually catch the attention of AID and actually get this applied?"

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Hi Chris, For info, here's the answer I got from . (It's a bit long!)
Not sure who might be able to address the issue except local ministries ? The other NGOs might have their hands full ?

Hello Rebecca,

Thank you for your email, it's really encouraging that you and the Openideo community have been considering how to assist against Ebola.

You're absolutely right that access to hygienic toilets and sanitation play a huge part in combating Ebola, and the reason it has spread so quickly in countries such as Liberia and Sierra Leone has a lot to do with their lack of access to these facilities. In Nigeria, where a larger proportion of the population has clean water and toilets, and where there is a better health service, they been able to mobilise against Ebola much more effectively.

WaterAid is principally a development organisation, working with communities on long-term solutions to water and sanitation problems. We may respond to natural disasters and other emergencies in places we are already working, if we can make a useful contribution within our areas of expertise, especially in protecting or restoring vital water and sanitation services for poor people. However, generally we don't have the expertise or knowledge required to deliver short term, humanitarian aid, such as portable or temporary toilets. For more information on our work please visit (you may particularly be interested in our sanitation information which is further down the page).

As I'm sure you'll also appreciate,our colleagues and their families in Liberia and Sierra Lone are our priority and as a result we have closed the offices in both counties until further notice. However some of our colleagues are still working from their homes, and we have also set up an incident management team, made up of senior staff from both countries with support from the West Africa and UK office - to monitor the situation as it changes and provide updates. You may be interested in reading this recent article on Ebola written by our Head of Programmes in East Africa.

The DEC have a Crisis Appeal for Ebola, and we have been directing people who wish to contribute to the Ebola crisis to two emergency response organisations: The Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders - the response is focused on providing medical assistance and preventing the spread of the virus.

I wish you the best of luck in your efforts and thank you for your interest.

Best wishes,


Jennifer Pullan

020 7793 4594

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