Earlier program work is now paying off
Considering the vital importance of effective handwashing in the fight against COVID-19, Save the Children is increasing existing efforts to educate children and caregivers about this life-saving practice. This work is paying off. During a recent trip to Papangu community in Guadalcanal, staff learned that the community had already gathered many empty mineral water bottles as part of a plan to extend ‘tippy tap’ handwashing stations to all households in the village.
A ‘tippy tap’ station is a simple, yet effective handwashing device built with locally sourced materials. Typically, it is a water container, such as a 5-litre container or water bottle, suspended by a rope between two sticks, making it easy to manually pour water to wash and rinse your hands.
Mr Leonard Kilua, Vice Chairman of the ECD centre in Papangu explained that the committee made this move because they recalled previous information provided by Save the Children during the 2014 flood response and in the promotion of health and hygiene for young children as part of ongoing ECD work. He said, “We have remembered the message that practicing good personal hygiene, particularly handwashing, is even more important during times of emergency and disaster because individuals are more vulnerable to illness and death from disease”.
Ms Florence Qazakamana, Principal of Sassamugga Community High School confirmed that the program is proving to be effective in getting the hygiene and handwashing message through to students. “Our students are now aware of the simple steps that they can take to protect themselves and others from the coronavirus”, she said.
Save the Children has been working in the Pacific for decades and is doing all it can to help communities in Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea prepare for the COVID-19 virus, including by promoting hand washing and hygiene, and distributing soap and hand sanitiser.