Global Handwashing Day: Children lead the way for proper handwashing behaviour

Every year India loses 318 per 1000 children under the age of 5 to diarrhorea and pneumonia. 

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: On the occasion of Global Handwashing Day, which takes place on 15th October of each year, Save the Children is acknowledging the significant value of hand washing with soap by participating in the event and by reaching out to the most vulnerable children in diarrhoea endemic areas of rural villages in the county.

Every year India loses 318 per 1000 children under the age of 5 to diarrhorea and pneumonia.

This burden is the highest in the world. As a front runner NGO fighting for child survival issues, Save the Children is implementing the Stop Diarrhoea Initiative in 9 locations across the 4 states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi and West Bengal.

The interventions are aimed at one rural block each in 4 districts of Uttar Pradesh and 2 districts of Uttarakhand.

Hand washingIn Delhi, urban slums of 2 districts are being covered and in West Bengal, 2 wards are being covered under the project.

The target population is approximately 2 million including 2,08,269 children under the age of 5.

The project, which is supported by RB, aims to test the efficacy of WHO & UNICEF’s 7 point plan for diarrhoea prevention and control.

Thomas Chandy, CEO, Save the Children says “Fighting Diarrhoea has been a big challenge given the poor sanitation behaviour preset in communities as well as accessibility issues like availability of toilets and water. Only focused, passionately driven approaches can make the needle swing in favour of India’s children and help achieve the Millennium Development Goals.”

Proper handwashing with soap at 5 critical times during the day can greatly reduce the incidence of diseases. It has also been advocated under the 7 point plan as one of the prevention aspects of diarrhoea control.

Hand washingThere are 6 steps in handwashing with soap that children are taught as also when they should be practicing handwashing.

Many demonstrations have been planned in the schools in Stop Diarrhoea Initiative intervention areas with every child participating in the activity.

Communities are also being roped in, by holding handwashing demonstrations at public places. There is a tremendous focus on making people understand that when handwashing with soap is practiced regularly at key times, such as after using the toilet or before contact with food, it can dramatically reduce the risk of diarrhoea and pneumonia, which can cause serious illness and death. Handwashing with soap also helps prevent the spread of other infections.

Save the Children works across 17 states in India and in 120 countries globally for children’s rights – to inspire breakthroughs in the way the world treats children, and to achieve immediate and lasting change in their lives.

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