UN-Habitat/ RAIN project celebrates the Global Hand Washing Day

On 15th October 2012, UN-Habitat joined RAIN’s project funded schools in Kenya to celebrate Global hand washing day. The schools had the opportunity through their health clubs to demonstrate the importance of hand washing with soap as an outreach event to their neighboring schools. In Kisumu, Ragumo Primary School was joined by three neighboring schools; Ogango Primary School, Kunya Primary School and Mbeme Primary School while Tido Primary School was joined by two neighboring schools;  Nyalunya Primary School and Ofunyu Primary School to celebrate the Hand washing Day.

The highlights of the day were demonstrations from the health clubs on which five occasions should one wash their hands and the procedure of washing hands which ushered more than 2,000 students to wash their hands with soap at various hand washing points within the school. The key messages that crowned the day were: “wash your hands with soap: Before eating or handling food, after using the toilet, after handling rubbish, after changing nappy, before and after touching an injured person.  Hand-washing with soap can significantly reduce the incidence of diarrhea.”

The Kisumu East Public Health Officer Mr. Nicholas Onako, thanked the head teachers of the schools who converged in Ragumo Primary School for allowing their students to participate in the event. In his message, he encouraged the students to make it a habit of washing hands with soap in order to keep away diseases that might lead to school absenteeism.

Thank you to UN-Habitat and Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation staff who contributed soap to enable the six UN-Habitat WASH Schools in Rarieda, Kisumu and Kisii celebrate this year’s Global Handwashing Day.

As part of the I’m a City Changer campaign, staff from UN-Habitat and the Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation initiative also contributed soap to enable the six UN-Habitat / Coca-Cola RAIN funded project Schools in Rarieda, Kisumu and Kisii celebrate this year’s Global Hand washing Day.


Lessons from Coca-Cola to Prevent Cholera

imageMelinda Gates has a really interesting post on the Gates Foundation blog about lessons that can be learned from the The Coca-Cola Company and how applying their strategy to global health programming can help to make it more efficient and impactful.

The three main points of my TEDxChange talk were that Coke constantly uses real-time data to maximize its operations; it leverages the talent of local entrepreneurs; and it markets its product effectively.

In a project with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and an organization called Carolina for Kibera, the Tabitha Clinic is working closely with the population in one neighborhood in Kibera. Health workers go house to house, collecting data from every resident every two weeks. The data is fired back to a central system via palm held devices.

When the staff saw a spike in the number of cases of diarrhea last year, they got worried about the possibility of a cholera outbreak. But as soon as the lab confirmed a cholera case, they visited the home of the infected individual, treated the members of the household, and conducted counseling sessions in the surrounding area. In the end, there were only four cases of cholera in the neighborhood.

It’s impossible to say how many people would have gotten cholera without that immediate intervention, but other slum areas have had cholera outbreaks of 1,000 cases, so it’s logical to assume that the use of real-time data saved lives and prevented a significant amount of misery.

Seeing Coke and the Tabitha Clinic side-by-side reinforced what I was thinking when I gave that talk six months ago: There are lessons to be learned from every sector, and we need to be willing to look far and wide for solutions to the challenges we face in health and development.

The whole post is really worth reading.  See the full post and a video of the TEDxChange talk that Melinda Gates gave here.

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