By Ombretta Baggio, IFRC
Lack of access to water and sanitation and poor hygiene is one of the principal causes of death and disease worldwide. Children are the most often affected as they suffer disproportionately from diarrheal and respiratory diseases.
However, children are often ideally placed to promote healthy behavior, like handwashing with soap, in their homes and communities. Red Cross Red Crescent believe that if we focus on the children, they will in turn bring about the change in the family and, in turn, the entire community.
Health clubs in Zimbabwe train school children in good hygiene and sanitation, giving them the skills and confidence needed to become powerful advocates for change.
Listen to Thelma Tazviwana from the Health Club in Dotito Primary School, Mount Darwin, Zimbabwe:
Providing basic sanitation and promoting hygiene practices should matter as much as providing safe water. Hygiene interventions including hygiene education and promotion of handwashing can lead to a significant reduction of diarrhoeal cases.
While sanitation is often seen as the poor relation to better access to water, the Red Cross Red Crescent is advocating for a global effort to redress the imbalance between the two issues. Good sanitation saves lives.
Download the Getting the balance right report