Tue 28 Feb 2006
Filed under: Health / AIDS,News
The United Nations Children’s Fund in Burma said poor hygiene was behind the deaths of many young Burmese as the country launched its 9th National Sanitation Week yesterday.
According to UNICEF, poor sanitation and hygiene were directly linked to the prevalence of diarrhea-related illnesses in Burma – some of the top killers of the country’s children.
“Children who use clean latrines, drink clean water, eat clean food, and regularly wash their hands enjoy healthier childhoods, and are more resistant to illness,” UNICEF representative in Burma Carroll C. Long said in a statement.
“If every family in the country adopted these four simple hygienic Measures – clean latrines, clean water, clean food, and clean hands – many lives could be saved,” Long said.
As part of National Sanitation Week UNICEF said it was working with local partners to construct sanitary latrines in schools, homes and health centres; launch sanitation awareness raising campaigns; and support community-level research into the development of locally-made sanitary equipment.
UNICEF’s communications officer in Burma, Jason Rush, said past national sanitation weeks had helped create public awareness of the importance of hygiene facilities.
“As a result, usage rates have increased. In 2005, over 70,000 home latrines were constructed, with another 550 repaired by communities. During 2005, 562 latrines were also constructed in schools,” Rush said.
According to UNICEF, while considerable progress had been made in extending sanitation facilities in Burma, residents in many rural areas still did not have access to adequate services.