Promoting hygiene at school to hold back waterborne diseases
Sixty per cent of child mortality in Pakistan is due to waterborne diseases, according to the Pakistan Council for Research in Water Resources. Recent disasters in Pakistan have resulted in even higher susceptibility to hygiene-related diseases and death, particularly among women and children. In order to respond to the issue, ACTED conducted hygiene promotion events at schools in Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) provinces.
ACTED conducts hygiene promotion activities as part of their ongoing programming in KPK and Sindh. This includes hygiene sessions and distribution of hygiene materials for flood-affected persons, internally displaced populations, host families and returnees. In light of cultural sensitivities as well as understanding, ACTED teams conduct separate sessions for men, women, and children.
In the districts of Nowshera, Kohat and Peshawar in KPK, ACTED is currently implementing a water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) assistance project supporting conflict-affected communities, with support from USAID’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). As part of the project, ACTED will provide hygiene promotion sessions and kits to 5,570 households including host families and internally displaced persons. Twenty schools (an estimated 1,000 children) will benefit from the construction of latrines and handwashing facilities. In two of these schools, ACTED conducted child-centred hygiene promotion activities, including recitals, poster competitions, and practical demonstrations.
ACTED also conducted Global Handwashing Day activities in two schools in Sindh in October. These activities specifically complemented a project through which ACTED are currently providing WASH assistance to communities affected by the 2010, 2011 and 2012 floods, with support from the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department, and implemented in partnership with Alliance2015. ACTED engaged over 600 students, teachers and local community members in child-centred hygiene promotion activities in the two primary schools in Mirpurkhas.
The messages were shared in coordination with the teaching faculty with the plan for teachers to repeat the key points at regular intervals throughout the coming months. Schools were also provided with posters to display thereby providing visual reminders for the students and teachers. Students were also provided with antibacterial soap to enable them to keep up their safe handwashing practices. In the coming months, ACTED will continue to promote handwashing across Pakistan as part of its on-going hygiene promotion initiatives.