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WASH pays off

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Saturday, October 28, 2017

WATER-BORNE diseases, once a major issue for students of Namamanuca Primary School in Yanuya Village in the Mamanuca Group, has been reduced, thanks to a program implemented by the United Nation's Children's Fund (UNICEF).

UNICEF's post severe TC Winston Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Recovery program has helped address a major cause of sickness which led to absenteeism at the school.

This was made known to officials from UNICEF and their partners and donors, Marriot International, who visited the school on Monday.

School head teacher Matai Beci said the program encouraged teachers and students to maintain a relatively high standard of hygiene despite challenges faced with a water crisis on the island.

"For many years, water-borne diseases have been one of the main causes of absenteeism for students in this school," he said.

"However, since its implementation last year, students have adhered well to the program and their lives have improved a lot.

"Despite water shortage being a major problem on the island, we are thankful that our teachers have been able to work out ways in successfully carrying out the WASH program in the school and students themselves have tried telling their own family members about its importance."

Mr Beci said Yanuya Village on Malolo Island had not received any rain over the past seven months, but hygiene standards had been maintained by using seawater for sanitation and also be ensuring students washed their hands after visiting the toilet.

"Children are assigned to collect water for hand washing for the rest rooms and all children are asked to bring a small, empty bucket from home for their toilet use.

"These buckets are kept in the classrooms and students are assigned on a daily basis to go and fill their buckets from the sea for their toilet use every day."

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