In Parts 1 to 3 of this Module, you have learned the general principles of how communicable diseases are transmitted, the specific features of the bacterial and viral vaccine-preventable diseases, and about malaria, leprosy, tuberculosis (TB) and HIV/AIDS. In Part 4, you will learn about other diseases of major public health importance in Ethiopia, beginning with faeco-orally transmitted diseases, i.e. diseases in which the infectious agents are found in faeces (stool) and enter the body through the mouth (oral route). The mode of transmission may be in contaminated food or water, on the hands, or on objects such as bowls, spoons and cups. For simplicity, we will sometimes refer to these diseases as faeco-oral diseases.
In this study session, you will learn about the general features of faeco-oral diseases: the main types commonly found in Ethiopia, their general symptoms and signs, how to treat mild cases and when to refer patients with severe conditions for specialised treatment, or laboratory tests to confirm the diagnosis. You will also learn about the importance of giving effective health education to your community on ways to prevent and control faeco-oral diseases. This general understanding forms the basis for the more detailed discussion of specific faeco-oral diseases in Study Sessions 33 and 34.