Monday, January 12, 2009

HEALTH IN OUR HANDS (October 13, 2008)

Did you know that our exact equivalent for “handwash” is not just “hugas”?
It is hinaw!
Similarly, as we take the specific Filipino translation for granted, we treat handwashing just like that – handwashing!.
Ask any Pontio Pilato.
Paghihinaw, however, is a must in accordance with year 2008 as the International Year of
United Nations (UN) looks at it as a significant contribution in meeting the Millennium Development Goals that include eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; achieving universal primary education; promoting gender equality and empowering women; improving maternal health; combatting Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, malaria, and other diseases; ensuring environmental sustainability; developing a global partnership for development; and reducing child mortality.
Big deal?
Yes, because paghihinaw can reduce deaths among children under the age of five by two-thirds by 2015.
“Although people around the world wash their hands with water,” United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) Representative Vanessa Tobin said, “far fewer wash their hands with soap at critical moments.”
By that, she means: (a) before and after meals and snacks; (b) before caring for young children; (c ) after touching a public surface; (d) before and after preparing food, especially raw meat, poultry, or seafood; (e) after using the restroom; (f) when hands are dirty; (g) after touching animals; (h) when you or someone around you is ill.
Diarrhea, for instance, kills almost 2 million children globally every year.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), we can prevent the second leading killer of children worldwide by mere paghihinaw with soap which has been proven to reduce the risk of not only diarrhea -- but also pneumonia and intestinal worms – that result into missed school days, low resistance to infections, impaired growth, malnutrition, poverty and lost lives.
UNICEF declares October15 -- the first Global Handwashing Day!
Together with the World Bank, Water and Sanitation Program, USAID, and Centres for Disease Control -- UNICEF through this event aims to motivate and mobilize millions to wash their hands properly.

That is, for at least 20 seconds (while singing, say, Sampung Mga Daliri twice):

  1. cover wet hands with soap before scrubbing all surfaces of hands, including palms, back, between the fingers and especially under the fingernails;
  2. rinse well with running water (rather than rinsing in still water);
  3. dry either on a clean cloth or by waving in the air.

Parents, teachers, celebrities, government, non-governmental organizations, and the general public are expected to work hand in hand here as well as in Bangladesh, China, Colombia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Mexico, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Peru, South Africa, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States of America, and Vietnam!

In the Philippines, UNICEF has been collaborating closely with the Department of Health, Department of Education, Procter and Gamble, among others!

But why only one day?

Well, it is enough to come up with such campaigns as press conferences or panel discussions with local experts and media; seminars on paghihinaw with case studies; interviews of ambassadors for paghihinaw behavior change; contests for writers for essays or poetry or stories or plays or songs on paghihinaw; competitions to design and construct best handwashing stations; television or radio drives like soap operas, short spot announcements, and Balagtasan on handwashing and hygiene; photo contests of images of different paghihinaw ways; approaching local soap companies, hotels, restaurants, and other firms as sponsors; revitalization of groups responsible for paghihinaw activities; issuing of special national Global Handwashing Day postage stamp; or soliciting print, electronic and broadcast media submissions on water supply, sanitation and hygiene issues from journalists for the HINAW Media Awards!

Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas awardee Florentino Hornedo told us the trick of the hinaw trade.

In one of the sessions for the another UNICEF project with the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Outreach Program's Sining sa Eskuwela in Isabela State University in November 2005 -- he did the fictionist way.

Not by saying it but by showing it!

Dr. Hornedo showed the kids and their teachers how many microorganisms can be found in our hands – using a microscope!

The next thing he knew was all of them, even the Dep Ed higher-ups, were making a mad queue to the nearest faucet!

What if there is no water?

UNICEF is also partnering with Safeguard to improve water and sanitation facilities and conduct hygiene education for the next two years in impoverished areas in Sultan Kudarat.

Talking about Mindanao, UNICEF has recently released US$500,000 to assist children affected by conflict there through government agencies and NGOs.To ensure the safety and unity of displaced families by creating child-safe spaces in the evacuation centers -- UNICEF strongly urges all parties in the conflict to take utmost care to uphold the rights of civilians especially women and children.

At least 10 children have already died in the latest spate of fighting, and that is 10 too many.

The UN assessment mission identified that a number of parents noted signs of distress among their children as a result of prolonged warfare and displacement, so UNICEF is focusing on creating child friendly spaces and mobilizing community support for children.

“These children may have witnessed killing or injuring of family members or may even have been attacked themselves even the distress of having to suddenly leave their homes and belongings can be very upsetting for young children,” Ms. Tobin added, “by creating a space where children feel safe, and by establishing normal routines like schooling and play activities, UNICEF is helping these children to recover.’’The situation is compounded by the fact that Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is already highly disadvantaged with only 33% of families having access to water. UNICEF will be providing safe water in the evacuation centers, as well asproviding latrines and bath cubicles, especially for girls and women.For the benefits of these efforts to be more long-lasting, children are taught good hygiene practice too.

And that involves paghihinaw.

With soap!

Two individuals proceeded towards the apex of a natural geologic protuberance, the purpose of their expedition being the procurement of a sample fluid hydride of oxygen in a large vessel, the exact size of which was unspecified.
(In short, Jack and Jill went up the hill to get a pail of water. The nosebleed edition.)

Smoking helps you lose weight. One lung at a time.

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