Sri Lanka: raising awareness for sanitation and handwashing

The Sanitation Task Force (STF) in Sri Lanka [urged] politicians, teachers, households and communities to ensure sanitation in their localities by creating adequate awareness and understanding of its importance in maintaining the health of the nation. STF made this statement on 15 Oct 2008 at a function held to mark the International Year of Sanitation.

[…] Access to sanitation is lowest in districts such as Anuradhapura, Ampara and Moneragala and in some conflict affected districts, sanitation is as low as 30%. A high percentage of Sri Lanka’s 10,000 schools do not have adequate sanitation facilities and 600 do not have any at all; 15% of the schools have facilities that been recorded as irreparable by the Ministry of Education. According to the school census of 2007, in Sri Lanka 3658 schools do not have adequate sanitation facilities and 2373 do not have drinking water facilities

[D]iarrhea is the third leading cause of infant deaths in Sri Lanka.

Also on 15 October, to celebrate Global Handwashing Day, 1,500 Public Health Inspectors (PHIs) visited 1,500 schools and to reach 1 million school children and demonstrated how handwashing should be done. […] A poster and a flip chart have been developed to demonstrate 9 steps of handwashing, based on surgical technique. These were be displayed in places like hospitals, plantation sector clinics child development centers and health clinics. The promotional activities continued in the following week, during Sri Lanka’s Food Safety week from 20th – 26th October. TV advertorials as well as print advertorials were produced.

Source: By Hemanthi Guruge, Daily Mirror, 16 Oct 2008 ; Global Handwashing Day – Country Updates – Sri Lanka

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