Shivpura, Madhya Pradesh, Aug 20 IBNS | 2 years ago

'We need to keep our hands clean as we need to fight bacterial infections," says Bhanmati, a student of class six in a government school in Madhya Pradesh's Shivpuri.

She is participating in launch of 'fit for school' project in her school. Arjun Jatav, a student of class seven of the same school was happy that such a campaign was been launched.

He is aware of the advantages of how hand washing with soap fights bacteria and he can now share his knowledge with his peers in school.

'Fit for school' is a project aimed to increase awareness among children on the advantages of handwashing with soap which was launched on August 15 in 100 schools of Guna and Shivpuri districts, under the slogan: "We Are Healthy and Happy" (WAHH !!)

This is an initiative of the district administrations in partnership with UNICEF wherein 50 schools in each district have been taken up for a 100 continuous days intensive campaign.

This campaign will be aimed to promote handwashing with soap by various activities in schools before the mid-day meal so that it gets into regular practice of children.

Dr. Gregor von Medeazza, WASH Specialist with UNICEF office for Madhya Pradesh shares: "Pneumonia and diarrhea account for 609,000 deaths every year in India, meaning that over 1600 Indian children under the age of five die every single day from these two preventable diseases. Handwashing with soap at critical times, that is after defecation and before touching or eating food, can reduce these death by a quarter in the case of pneumonia and nearly half in the case of diarrhea, potentially saving the lives of millions of children in India and around the world."

The programme was launched in Guna by the Minister of the General Administration Department K L Agarwal, along with the Collector of Guna District and 400 children on India's Independence Day on August 15.

Children took the pledge to wash their hands with soap before eating food at the event held at Haripur Panchayat of the district.

In Shivpuri district, a similar event was launched in Tanpur School of Shivpuri block which has primary, middle and high school in one single premise and all the children from the three schools participated. A group handwashing unit was also inaugurated at these launches.

(Posted on 20-08-2013)