Your programmes should talk about health issues using simple, everyday language that listeners can understand.

But, you might find you come across certain health terms when reading about these issues or speaking to health experts. If you don’t know their meaning, check the glossaries below for words relating to general health, polio, water, sanitation and hygiene, and nutrition.


A type of germ that can cause diarrhoea and other diseases.

This is when a surface or object gets covered in germs, and becomes dangerous to people.

This is sometimes used to describe an action or product that is good value – its benefits are high compared to its cost. For example, vaccination and breastfeeding are considered cost-effective.

This stands for civil society organisation – an organisation that works for the interests of citizens.

Faecal-oral route
This is how some diseases like polio are passed from one person to another. An infected person’s poo (faeces) contains the poliovirus. This then contaminates other surfaces, food or people’s hands, and eventually ends up in someone’s mouth. That person is then infected with polio.

Immune system
The parts and processes of the body that help fight off disease.

Infectious disease
This is a disease that can be passed from one person to another. It is caused by germs like bacteria or viruses infecting the body.

This is an action taken to prevent illness or help someone recover. It includes vaccination and hand washing.

These are tiny, invisible germs like bacteria and viruses that cause diseases.

This stands for non-government organisation – an organisation that doesn’t work for profit. INGO stands for international non-government organisation.

A type of germ that lives inside others and can cause disease. For example, malaria is caused by a parasite.

This is the process of one person passing (or ‘transmitting’) a disease to another person. It can happen in different ways – one common way is by the ‘faecal-oral route’.

This stands for the United Nations – an international organisation formed in 1945 to encourage its member countries, including Afghanistan, to work together. UNICEF and WHO are specialised agencies within the UN.

This is the United Nations Children’s Fund – an agency within the UN that works on issues affecting children and mothers in developing countries around the world.

A type of germ that causes disease. Polio is caused by a virus called poliovirus. There are other viruses that can cause diarrhoea.

This is the World Health Organization – an agency within the UN that works to prevent diseases spreading across the world.


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