During a recent trip to Ethiopia, I witnessed the children washing their hands after using the latrines in their school.
The school did not have a mains water supply and therefore no taps or running water, so the school is forced to improvise by simply using containers of water, which are filled and carried to the school every morning by the students.
For many years now, ORBIS has been campaigning in schools about the importance of personal hygiene, especially washing hands after using the latrine. It is refreshing to see the children realising the importance of personal hygiene and not only ensuring that they keep THEIR hands and faces clean, but they also take this message home to their famillies.
Trachoma is a major public health problem in southern Ethiopia and poor personal hygiene will inevitably give rise to trachoma infections.
One of the best ways to prevent the transmission of trachoma is by encouraging face and hand washing - not easy where water is scarce. This will help to slow the spread of bacteria which causes infection and ultimately prevent people from contracting trachoma. ORBIS representatives train teachers about facial cleanliness, personal hygiene, environmental sanitation and how to wash hands effectively to prevent the spread of bacteria.
In the school I visited in a rural village in Dita, each classroom had a water canister outside where children and teachers could wash their hands. The children in this school had been taught the importance of cleanliness and in turn brought these lessons back to their parents.
It is vital that the attitudes across these communities change and the local people undersatnd the importance of good personal hygiene and how this can prevent a multitude of diseases.
ORBIS continues it's work to educate teachers and students across rural Ethiopia in the importance of personal hygiene.
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