The Water supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program was initiated by The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). The three terms are interdependent. Water is a transparent, tasteless, odorless, and colorless natural substance, which forms the main constituent of earth’s streams, lakes, and oceans, and the fluids of most living organisms.
Sanitation refers to public health conditions related to provision of clean drinking water and adequate treatment and disposal of human excreta and sewage. Preventing human contact with feces is part of sanitation, as is hand washing with soap. Poor sanitation always leads to the spread of infectious diseases which can ultimately lead to deaths. Lack of sanitation contributes to child deaths every year due to diarrhea, mainly in developing countries. Chronic diarrhea can have long-term negative effects on children, in terms of both physical and cognitive development. In addition, lack of WASH facilities can prevent students from attending school, impose an unusual burden on people especially women and reduce work productivity.
Hygiene is a set of practices performed to preserve health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Hygiene refers to conditions and practices that help maintain health and prevent the spread of diseases.” Personal hygiene refers to maintaining the body’s cleanliness.
Global, affordable and sustainable access to water, sanitation and hygiene is a key issue in public health within international development and is the focus of Sustainable Development Goal 6 which is to “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.”
Envision Global Care Foundation (EGCF), as its operational model (to sensitize, support and advocate) has carried out several outreaches on WASH in various Internally Displaced People’s (IDPs) camps and orphanages among which are Kuje IDP camp and Hope for Survival orphanage, educating them on the significance of clean water supply, adequate sanitation and proper hygiene, demonstrating hand washing with soap and providing them with relief materials. EGCF believes that behavioral change will play a key role in sustaining good hygiene practices and adequate sanitation.
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