“My family is not ill anymore” – Story on why small is big in Precast for Life

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“My family is not ill anymore” – Story on why small is big in Precast for Life

Marie Rose Ntamikevyo pushes a plank in the ground by her feet. The plank pushes a string, which pulls the water can down. Clean water flushes Ntamikevyo’s hands making her laugh. Ntamikevyo releases the plank without touching anywhere.
"This system is built to improve hygiene of my family. Same type of hand washing systems are now used by several villagers," she says. Epidemic diseases, such as diarrhea, have decreased dramatically in the community. "My family is not ill anymore."Ntamikevyo is one of 350 000 Red Cross volunteers in Burundi. She plays a central role in passing information about safe water supply and sanitation in her local community.Lack of clean water and latrines combined with low hygiene awareness is one of the main reasons for severe diseasesThe most vulnerable are children and pregnant women, followed by orphans, HIV patients, single oldsters and chronically sick. In Mozambique, for example, every seventh child dies before the age of five because of preventable diseases such as diarrhea, aids, respiratory infections or malaria.Many diseases could be prevented by basic hygiene - better availability of clean water and organized sanitation systems, and the proper use of them. To improve current conditions, the Red Cross works closely with local communities. Participatory Hygiene and Sanitation Transformation (PHAST) is a generally used method. In PHAST people evaluate their own hygiene habits to understand reasons for infectious diseases. In the process information on the prevention of diseases and hygiene is distributed side by side with the practical hygiene improvement work.The Red Cross is also active in dialogue with national health authorities to include water and sanitation issues as well as hygiene education into their health policies. Commitment of both local communities and authorities is crucial for the continuation of positive health development.Did you know, that: - Over 1 billion people have no access to clean water. - Over 3 billion people have no toilets, or latrines. - Over 2 million people, most of them children, die every year because of unclean water and infectious diseases caused by poor hygiene and sanitation. This means 5479 deaths per day. - By 2030s, even 5.5 billion people are living without clean water and proper sanitation (estimate by the WHO).General Meeting of the United Nations has declared the right for clean drinking water and sanitation as the universal human right. Water and sanitation programs are the central milestone between catastrophe help and long-term development cooperation.Source: The Finnish Red Cross 2013

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