According to a 2010 report consolidated by the Centers for Disease Control with information from the World Health Organization, 2,195 children die every day from diarrhea—which is more than AIDS, malaria and measles combined. The same report also states diarrheal diseases account for the second-highest cause of death among children under age 5. However, strides have been made to combat and neutralize these diseases, with many organizations and governments working together. One initiative that has found success are hand washing awareness programs.
Defense Against Disease
GFA is one among many organizations spreading hygiene awareness in Asia, most notably hand washing. Washing hands is one of the easiest ways to prevent the spread of disease. Programs organized by GFA-supported workers help bring to light the impact clean hands have on a person’s health.
In celebration of Global Handwashing Day, a group of GFA-supported Sisters of Compassion taught proper hand washing to those they serve in a leprosy colony. Equipped with videos, poems, handouts and demonstrations, the workers showed the children and adults how to properly and thoroughly wash their hands.
Fifty families that call this colony home, received a bottle of hand soap and instructions on how to use it. For many, this was a very new experience.
“I recall my younger age when I never got the chance to be taught such lessons,” one of the residents, Mahdat, says. “The children here are lucky to learn such useful lessons through which they can save their lives…”
Echoing Mahdat’s sentiment, fellow leprosy patient and colony resident Bavishya says, “Through [the GFA-supported workers’] service, today we could learn the importance of hand washing, which is very necessary for the children here because, most of the time, they fall into illness due to dirty hands.”
One of the children present, Salome, remarked on the program: “I learned when to wash hands, how to wash hands, and why I need to wash my hands. … I will paste [the handout] on the door of my house and will follow the instructions. Thank you.”