It’s hard to imagine not having a toilet. But about 2.5 billion people around the world do not even have a basic pit latrine. And not having a toilet is a much bigger problem than just the lack of comfort and convenience. UNICEF estimates that 2 million children die every year from pneumonia and diarrhea—and these two illnesses can be largely prevented with safe drinking water and improved sanitation and hygiene. Without proper toilets, water and the environment become contaminated, and diseases like diarrhea spread more rapidly. Having a toilet, along with improving sanitation practices such as handwashing, can keep children alive.
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Global Handwashing Day is a day started five years ago to promote and raise awareness about one of the easiest, yet most important, hygiene practices. Handwashing is a simple thing most of us do every day, but washing hands actually saves lives. Each year, diarrheal diseases and pneumonia kill almost 3.5 million children under five in developing countries. Our hands are the principal carriers of disease-causing germs, and if widely practiced, it is estimated that handwashing with soap could avert 1 million of those deaths.
That’s why the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing, founded by UNICEF and other partners, is encouraging the world to help promote handwashing with soap.
Over these past few weeks we have been gathering momentum as we continue our work towards the goal to end the deaths of children from preventable causes. One example of the enormous potential we have for saving children’s lives is in the prevention of pneumonia and diarrhea—the two primary killers of children under five. UNICEF recently released a report outlining effective prevention and treatment strategies for both illnesses. Here are some of the strategies UNICEF uses to save lives.
Despite the challenges, efforts are underway to unload and deliver UNICEF emergency supplies and equipment that arrived in Port-au-Prince by plane in the early hours of January 15th. This first UNICEF shipment included water tanks, water purification tablets and rehydration salts, in addition to telecommunications and computer equipment.
Two more planes loaded with relief are planned for the weekend, carrying some 70 metric tons of tents, tarpaulin, and medicine.
Clean water and sanitation are among the most important emergency relief needs following most emergencies, in particular to protect against the serious health risks posed by diarrheal infections and diseases.
100 percent of your donation is being used to provide these and other life saving goods and services to the people of Haiti. Please continue to support UNICEF, make a donation today!
The news out of Haiti is just catastrophic. It’s shaping up to be one of the worst humanitarian disasters of our time. I’m sure you’ve been seeing the heart-stopping footage on the news of people badly injured, without shelter, food, and water
Nishi Kumar is working as an intern at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF throughout the Fall.
“Did you remember to wash your hands?” This is a question most of us heard thousands of times throughout our childhoods. Hand washing is a routine we pick up at an early age, drilled into us by constant reminders from relatives, teachers, and catchy TV jingles. By adolescence, it becomes an ingrained habit that we eventually pass down onto our own children. Most of us have never stopped to consider why this simple act