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Salient. Victoria University Students' Newspaper. Volume 39, Number 25. October 4, 1976

How has China been able to implement this programme on such a vast scale?

How has China been able to implement this programme on such a vast scale?

By a commitment to the campaign at the very top and by mass involvement in mass dedication to the task of ridding the country of the disease.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing of all is that century old practices have been changed very very quickly. Faeces has been regarded as valuable manure for centuries in China and buckets of untreated faeces have been traditionally used on paddy fields. It is a good method of fertilizing the land, but it is also a good method of inoculating the fields with the eggs of the schistosomiasis worm. So and important part of the campaign has been the change in the system of faeces disposal. The peasants have developed new methods consisting basically of a three-chamhered pit latrine which is clean, convenient, odourless and in which the new sewage ferments into a safe liquid fertilizer. By adding straw, methane

Disposal of raw faeces and rinsing of buckets in canals and rivers is now forbidden. To make sure that the disease does not launch a counter-attack, the communes organise regular surveillance for infected people and snails. In the East Wind Production Brigade near Wushi, for example, 300 men search the area for snails twice a year for three or four days.

Side by side with the new sanitation methods, the Chinese have worked hard to supply clean water to homes in rural areas. Wells have been sunk to serve small groups of homes and in one kitchen which I visited there was even a 'kitchen well' just next to the cooking stove. Bottles of soldium hypochloride are hung inside the wells to sterilise the water.

This achievement is a tribute to the Chinese information, and education machinery. They have used slides, they have used films, they have used radio broadcasts, they have used pictures, they have acted plays, they have erected huge hoarding boards, they have piped messages and music by loudspeakers to the fields, they have disected infected rabbits, they have used demonstrations - all this at the village level. So everybody really understood and everybody was really involved. Even young children were picking snails out of river banks with chop sticks and old people were taking tea to the snail control workers in the fields. Almost everyone, even though many are still illiterate, understands the causes of snail fever and knows how the pit latrine system works and why it is safe.