Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)
We observed that many villagers, especially children, drank from unclean water sources such as the river and rainwater that was collected in urns/pots. Most, if not all houses were not equipped with hand soap near sinks and many villagers do not practice washing their hands with soap after defecation, after farming, or before having their meals. In an interview with Phon Thong Medical Centre, we learnt that their top referral to the District Hospital involved severe stomachache, diarrhea and resultant dehydration.
what we did:
In dealing with the problems relating to WASH, we adopted a two-pronged approach:
We decided to educate the village children on the “Hygiene” aspect of WASH, and see if they would pass this knowledge on to their parents and other adult villagers. We taught the children 2 components of basic hygiene: hand hygiene (WHO’s 7 steps of hand-washing) and dental hygiene (Colgate’s brushing guidelines). To do so, we used creative methods to engage them and help them to remember the steps such as singing the 7 steps of hand-washing in the tune of the Happy Birthday Song and peer teaching.
In order to enable the children to practice their newly-learnt proper hand and dental hygiene in school, we built tippy-taps in schools to provide them with clean water and soap. We involved the school teachers and students in the maintenance of the tippy-taps for sustainability.
During our Dec 18 trip, we plan to assess the retention of hand and dental hygiene knowledge in the children we taught and also see whether the transfer of this knowledge from children to adults has successfully occurred.
In addition, we will be checking to see if our tippy-taps have been well maintained and utilised by the students and teachers.