Promoting hand washing and hygiene
We are pleased to let you know that we have used your donations to replace two water tanks that were damaged beyond repair during the recent Cyclone Winston. We endeavored to repair as many tanks as possible, but 2 were beyond repair so have been replaced.
But today we would like to update you about our WASH initiative since Cyclone Winston.
Greater access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene after a disaster has hit, can lessen the impact of diarrhea outbreaks, and reduce the burden of morbidity and mortality associated with faecal-oral infections which often increase in incidence following a natural or man-made disaster.
In some emergencies and post-emergency situations, diarrhea can be responsible for the majority of deaths. Realizing the importance of providing access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene during this time, and ensuring the spread of disease needs to be accompanied by encouraging hygiene promotion and working and clean sanitation facilities.
Since the devastating effects of cyclone Winston, GVI Fiji have interacted with over 639 people, including nearly all the children, in the Dawasamu District, relying on the previous relationships built up within the community to effectively assist post- disaster and promote the effective provision of WASH facilities and awareness
Following TC Winston, GVI Fiji have worked on, and are continuing to assist with:
- Resupplying village and settlements with basic hygiene necessities, and regularly checking in with each villages to assess requirements. Overall GVI have supplied 193 soap bars, 65 packs of mosquito coils, 60 kerosene lamps with fuel, 19 bottles of bleach
- Carried out repairs to 8 cyclone-damaged rainwater harvesting systems, thus increasing access to safe drinkingwater.
- Inspected the functionality of toilets, ensuring there is 1 toilet to 50 people (the WHO maximum ratio in emergencies) - most of the district had enough functioning toilets – but following the inspections GVI Fiji purchased the materials to repair two affected flush toilets.
- Installed 4 Hand washing stations (i.e., Happy Taps) in an effort to increase access to safe hand-washing facilities in areas without working taps, mainly near the kitchen or next to toilets. As well as ensuring safe water is in sufficient quantity for regular hand washing to be achieved, GVI has ensured the availability of soap, using a soap on a rope and the delivery of soap to all households in the district.
- Supplied 45 UNICEF Emergency WASH posters in Fijian to homes throughout district.
Following TC Winston GVI Fiji have promoted safe WASH practices though:
- Carrying out hygiene promotion strategies to encourage hand washing with soap and other hygienic behavior practices.
- Developed a WASH presentation that is delivered to children of all ages, small adult groups and during house-to-house visits. These presentations proved to be successful, and already women are asking for advice regarding health and hygiene.
- Engaged children in a hand washing song, and playing hand games with glitter to depict how germs spread.
- Provided adults with the WASH presentation and showed a video to highlighting the way cholera is spread; stressing the likelihood of disease transmission after a disaster and encouraging hand washing with soap, listing all the appropriate times.
- Discussed water safety, the need for boiling and the ease of using the SODIS method (Solar Disinfection - clear water bottles filled with water shaken with air bubbles and placed on tin roofing to absorb the sun’s UV rays) as an effective way method to purifywater.
- Assisted and encouraged water supply maintenance and cleaning, with rain water harvesting tanks being checked for any open piping and covered with mesh to stop the tank from any foreign objects falling in from theoutside.
Following the aftermath of Cyclone Winston, GVI will continue to check into each village in the Dawasamu District, inquiring about the health of the village and their sanitary and water needs. GVI understand the need to address sanitation, hygiene and access to water within each village and settlement, and believe the communities have been working hard to stop the spread of disease while they go through this difficult time.
Thank you for your support during this difficult time.
Learning about hygiene and the spread of germs