2/13/2014 UNICEF Myanmar - Water & Sanitation - Global Hand-washing Day...

UNICEF Myanmar - Water & Sanitation - Global Hand-washing Day inspires children of Myanmar to regular hand-washing
Global Hand-washing Day inspires children of Myanmar to regular hand-washing
by Ye Lwin Oo
“Unless we wash our hands before eating, bacteria touching our hands may get
into our bodies while we eat. This can make us sick of diarrhoea and many other
diseases. It is not good for us as we won’t be able to play or go to school,” said
Yu Nandar Myint, a 10 year old fifth graders in the Nyaung Pin Tha village primary
school in Pantanaw Township.
© UNIC EF Myanm ar/2010/Myo
Tham e
Prim ary school childre n in
Aye yarwaddy De lta wash hand
toge the r on Global Hand W ashing
Day 2011.
Yu Nandar Myint is one of the 1400 children who joined the Global Hand-washing
Day event from 16 schools organized by UNIC EF in the Pantanaw Township on
October 15. This is the first time she got to practice hand washing in such an
event together with her friends, parent and teachers. She, along with other
primary school children, has learned the importance and the practice of handwashing from life skills classes. But this was like a big fun event, Yu Nandar Myint,
said she enjoyed the day.
She joined her friends to sing a hand-washing song:
"Before touching food,
We must wash our hands with soap and water
Let’s wash our hands well
So no bacteria can get into our bodies
Let’s enjoy ourselves! Enjoy ourselves!
Let’s go and wash hands when we are asked to come for lunch."
Globally diarrhoeal diseases and acute respiratory infections cause 3.5 million under five child deaths every year.
Washing hands with soap and water especially after using toilet and before eating helps reduce the incidence of
diarrhoeal disease by 40 percent.
“Washing your hands with soap before eating and after using the toilet can considerably reduce the risk of diarrheal
diseases. It can also reduce the risk of acute respiratory infections and influenza,” said Mr. Dara Johnston, C hief of
UNIC EF’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Section.
Since 2008, October 15 has been marked as Global Hand-washing Day all over the world including in Myanmar to
raise awareness of the benefits of regular hand-washing practices. “I have learned from my school lessons that we
need to wash hands. But to tell you the truth, I seldom remember to practice this before touching food and after using
the toilet. The Global Hand-washing Day event today showed how we must do it and how important it is. Being here
today makes me want to practice hand-washing regularly.”
Partner agencies for the third annual Global Hand-washing Day in Myanmar organized events across the country in
line with the global theme for 2010 ‘More than just a Day” which aims to make the simple, life-saving practice of
washing hands a regular habit. Thet Wai Linn, a grade five student from Setnaywar village primary school said “I
have leanrned about hand-washing habits through UNIC EF’s Life Skill course. Hand washing is one of the 4C leans –
C lean Food, C lean Water, C lean hand and C lean Toilet.”
The official ceremony and songs led to practical demonstration of thoroughly washing hands with soap and water
before children proceeded for having lunch together in a festivity mood. The students, teachers and parents from all
primary schools participated in the activities of the day that also included health talks.
“Hand washing as an important habit is a key topic in UNIC EF’s Life Skills course. Today children had the practical
training in washing hands with soap before eating, after using the toilet,” said Daw Htay Htay Kywe, school teacher of
Basic Primary School from Setnaywar village, “Hopefully this will imbue in our students the need to move from
learning to doing.”
In the past, open defecation was common in this region due to lack of toilet facilities. Local schools did not have
proper fly-proof latrine and water supply either. But things have started changing since UNIC EF supported WASH in
C hild Friendly School Project and Sanitation and Hygiene Promotion Project have started working in the area.
“We are glad that UNIC EF supported C hild Friendly Schools help promote our children’s hygiene and health habits by
providing standard water supply and toilet facilities in school,” said Daw Tin Tin Win, assistant teacher from
Setnaywar village Primary School.
In total 14,000 students from 65 schools actively participated in Global Hand-washing Day events organized by
UNIC EF, government, other local and international NGOs in Myanmar.