Tag Archives: World Health Organization

World Health Assembly: WaterAid puts WASH on the agenda

WaterAid was able to get WASH issues on the agenda at the 2010 World Health Assembly, reports policy researcher Yael Velleman.

A text drafted by WaterAid on the role of access to WASH in preventing child under-nutrition was inserted word-for-word into the WHO resolution on Infant and Young Child Nutrition. Prior to this, neither the resolution nor the WHO Secretariat report which informed it contained any reference to WASH, Velleman says.

WaterAid was participating in the 63rd World Health Assembly as part of the NGO delegation, comprised of World Vision, Save the Children, Oxfam, Action for Global Health and VSO.

The NGO delegation hosted a side event addressing equity in access to healthcare services. WaterAid presented a flyer on their forthcoming report “The sanitation problem: what can and should the health sector do?”

WaterAid hopes that discussions on sanitation and water will be included, for the first time, on the official agenda of the next World Health Assembly.

Source: Serena O’Sullivan, End Water Poverty blog, 27 May 2010

South Africa or India: who holds the world record for handwashing?

South African children have set an official new Guiness World Record for the most number of people washing hands at one location, but a simultaneous event in India attracted more than eight times as many students.

About 15,000 students from 23 schools in Chennai converged under the blazing sun in Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium to celebrate Global Handwashing Day and break the previous record held since 22 October 2008 by Bhiddwa School Niketon of Dhaka, Bangladesh with 1,213 participants.

Photo: Indian Express

Photo: Indian Express

The programme in Chennai began almost an hour late. Luckily, the dignitaries kept their speeches short. Large screens placed in the stadium aired demonstrations on how to wash hands.

Soon after the speeches, the whistle blew and the children got into the act. They had bubble bottles, soaps and paper napkins all in place. And in less than 10 minutes, the event was over.

Though the children liked the idea of coming together and assembling in the stadium, the scorching heat posed a problem. “Our teachers insisted that we came, otherwise we would not have bothered about this,” said a group of children from a Corporation high school.

On the other hand, some students were really excited to be part of the event. “We knew that we are going to be part of a record-setting event. Despite being a bit tired, we find it great to be here,” said Saravan and friends from a school near Choolai.

The students were brought together by the government, World Health Organization and Lifebuoy to promote the habit of washing hands as a measure to prevent disease.

Bryan Habana washing hands with the children. Photo: Bongani Nkosi

Bryan Habana washing hands with the children. Photo: Bongani Nkosi

At the same time in South Africa, local rugby hero Bryan Habana and 1,802 Gauteng schoolchildren were staging their own record breaking attempt.

Habana is part of the Gimme 5 for Germ-free Hands campaign led by Protex, an anti-bacterial soap brand, owned by Colgate Palmolive. The campaign has visited more than 1,200 primary schools throughout the country. On Global Handwashing Day about 1-million children from schools around South Africa washed their hands under the auspices of the brand.

The South African was officially recognised as a Guinness World Record by adjudicator Carl Saville, who flew out from the UK for the occasion.

Source: Indian Express, 16 Oct 2009

Water, sanitation and hygiene standards in schools in low-cost settings

The World Health Organization (WHO) is seeking assistance from those with suitable experience to review the draft – Water, sanitation and hygiene standards in schools in low-cost settings Draft- WASH Standards in Schools.  A “Response Form” which details the type of review being sought g can be found here Response Form .  Responses from interested individuals/institutions should be sent by 28 February 2009.

The guidelines deal specifically with water supply (water quality, quantity and access), hygiene promotion, sanitation, control of vector-borne disease, cleaning and waste disposal and food storage and preparation. They are designed for use in low-cost settings where simple and affordable measures can make a significant improvement to hygiene and health.

The draft guidelines have been edited by John Adams, Jamie Bartram, Yves Chartier and Jackie Sims.

Pakistan, NWFP: Militants cause gastroenteritis in Swat Valley

Militants blow up a an electricity sub-station, causing tube wells and the water supply to be disrupted; people resort to using dirty water and then fall sick. This, in a nutshell, is what has happened in parts of Swat Valley in North West Frontier Province.

Over 2,000 {people] have visited [the Saidu Teaching Hospital (STH) in Swat District hospital] since 2 October [2008], amid rumours that cholera had erupted in Saidu Sharif, capital of Swat District, about 3km from the city of Mingora, where the grid station was blown up by militants.


“It’s not cholera,” said Mohammad Khan, medical superintendent at the 500-bed STH near the River Swat. “It is acute watery diarrhoea which is also known as gastroenteritis and the media is misinforming people,” he said. […] WHO has sent cholera kits (also used for treating gastroenteritis) for 2,000 patients and samples are being collected to rule out cholera.


“People think because they are using running water, it is clean. What they fail to understand is that they wash their clothes, bathe and even defecate in the same water they use for drinking. Even untreated sewage finds its way into these streams,” said Owais Yaqoob, a doctor at STH.


The executive district health officer in Swat, Bakht Jamal […] is mobilising the mosques, and vehicles are making announcements through loudspeakers at street corners telling people to boil water and wash hands with soap before eating, and after visiting toilets. Médicins Sans Frontières (MSF), which has been working in the conflict zones of Matta and Kabal […] has hired three generators which are running tube wells on a rotational basis in Mingora city. WHO teams are also distributing chlorine tablets in Mingora.

Source: IRIN, 15 Oct 2008

Angola launches third national de-worming campaign in schools

Over the next month, primary school children in all of Angola’s 18 provinces will receive de-worming tablets as part of a national campaign that is now in its third year. The campaign aims to ensure that the country’s children have better health for better learning.

Parasitic infections, or intestinal worms, can lead to malnutrition, anaemia and slow cognitive development.

In Angola, the school de-worming campaign is led by the Ministries of Health and Education, with support from UNICEF and the World Health Organization. It is part of a broader programme to promote health in Angolan schools; this effort includes the provision of water and latrines, the establishment of hygiene education and health and hygiene clubs, and a school feeding programme.

Read more: Lone Hvass, UNICEF, 24 Sep 2008

UN-Water Global Annual Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS)

The Global Annual Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS) is a UN-Water pilot initiative led by the World Health Organization (WHO). UN-Water GLAAS constitutes a new approach to reporting on progress in the sanitation and drinking-water sectors that aims to strengthen evidence-based policy-making towards and beyond the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Read all and down load the report

UK: Wash your hands, NHS staff reminded

03 September 2008 

The National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) is reinforcing its message to NHS staff to clean their hands at the point of care, with the reissue of its alert on hand hygiene.

(…) In addition, the advice includes the internationally recognised World Health Organization (WHO) Five Moments for Hand Hygiene (July 2007).

Read all hesmagazine.com

Related web-site: National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA)

Related web-site: WHO: “A new and exciting concept in hand hygiene improvement has been developed by the WHO team and the University Hospitals of Geneva. Developed around a user-centred design approach incorporating strategies of human factors engineering, cognitive behaviour science and elements of social marketing, the Five Moments approach is central to the WHO multifaceted hand hygiene improvement strategy. “My five moments for hand hygiene’: a user-centred design approach to understand, train, monitor and report hand hygiene” was published in the Journal of Hospital Infection, September 2007″    Publication and other tarining materials/films available from WHO