There have been a number of notable developments in the way the world approaches health and health-related issues. International organizations such as WHO and UNICEF have realigned some of their major programs to reflect the fresh insight and increase awareness where it matters the most. One such area that has recently come under the radar is the school as a center for health awareness.
Building a Better Tomorrow
School sanitation and hygiene is not just a health or medical issue. It is also an important item on the social development agenda. Almost every country in the world understands the need for basic facilities so that children can come back to school to learn and take back to their communities what they have learned from the school environment and hygiene practices. The right combination of hygiene practices, facilities and education is expected to have the maximum impact on communities. This is because increasing awareness and educating children has a ‘multiplier’ effect on society in general.
The children who gain exposure to the right cleanliness and hygiene standards as a part of their school-going experience are twice as likely to question traditional misconceptions and wrong beliefs about cleanliness and hygiene into their families and neighborhoods. Additionally, since children are the future population of the world, by targeting them, it is hoped that we have insured ourselves in the future to come.
If schools do not provide a safe and healthy environment, their students will suffer in more ways than one. For example, we know that diarrhea is one of the largest causes of death in children with. We also know that it is a common ailment and 1.5 million children die every year from diarrhea-related diseases. However, diarrhea is preventable and just the simple act of washing hands with a good antibacterial soap such as Dettol Daily Care Bar Soap can reduce the risk of diarrhea by as much as 45%.
As part of their Millennium Development Goals, UNICEF has estimated that 1.9 billion school days are lost every year due to absenteeism caused by diarrhea. In 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) studied diarrhea prevention in school children. They found that after a 9-month hand washing program for school-going children, the chances of diarrhea dropped by 50%. Interestingly, these children also reached their personal development and growth milestones 6 months earlier than those who did not practice personal hygiene. Clearly, it is time to take personal hygiene awareness back to school.