Typhoon affected children launch "Health is in Our Hands" campaign for World Water Day

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100 Typhoon Pablo affected children in Cateel, Davao Oriental will launch a “Health is in Our Hands” Campaign on World Water Day, this March 22nd. “Health is in Our Hands” aims to highlight the need for better hand washing to protect health – particularly the health of children. The Campaign also aims to highlight the huge needs in water and sanitation facilities that still remain nearly three months after Typhoon Pablo (Bopha) struck the eastern coast of Mindanao devastating whole communities.

The campaign promotes the key message that hand washing with soap can save lives and protects people from illnesses such as diarrhoea, Acute Respiratory Illness (ARIs) and prevents conditions like malnutrition and cholera, which were already a concern in affected areas before Pablo. Globally, an estimated 2,000 children under the age of five die every day from diarrheal diseases and of these some 1,800 deaths are linked to water, sanitation and hygiene.

The Health is in Our Hands Campaign spreads an empowering message for people to take charge of their own water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) needs in homes, neighbourhoods, schools and communities – with the first step of better hand washing, and to claim their water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) rights.

“The biggest challenge is to ensure long term safe water needs, in temporary resettlement areas, spontaneous transitional sites, and where people are rebuilding homes,” says Rory Villaluna, WASH Cluster Coordinator. “This campaign led by children and community groups is vital to saving lives and protecting health,” Villaluna adds.

“Children are great communicators and leaders in schools and homes. Working with Department of Education is a key strategy to spreading good health messages,” says Rhoewena Loreto, Education Cluster Coordinator.

“Health is in Our Hands is an important campaign for schools and children to be involved in. In a fun and interactive way children can learn about the life saving importance of hand washing and they will be empowered with this knowledge to be the guardians of their families health,” says Rodelia Diansay, Principle, San Rafeal Elementary School.