There would be fewer deaths if everyone did what they have to do

hand washing in DRCYOUNG REPORTER I am Monica, Young Reporter from the City-Province of Kinshasa. As you all know, every October 15, the world celebrates hand washing day. Discover the celebrations organized in Kinshasa.

15 October: a very important day

In Kinshasa, the day of the 15th of October has raised awareness and reminded people just how important the small gesture of washing hand is so critically important because by simply washing hands an infinite number of human lives can be consequently saved.

Guests at the ceremony held at Ngamanzo Primary School, a small village in Maluku commune, my friends and I took the opportunity to get our message across. We pleaded with the authorities whom were present and sensitized our peers on the issue of hand washing.

Just so you know, the village of Ngamanzo is located on the banks of the Congo River, on the eastern outskirts of Kinshasa. A child had recently been a victim of the cholera epidemic, a “dirty hands” disease. The choice of this small village re-assures us all and shows that the children whom have been victims have not been forgotten and have not died in vain. Ngamanzo Primary School has 400 student pupils, 65.6% of whom are girls.

Why must children have to be the victims?

In our advocacy message to the authorities, we asked two questions that we found to be very important. First of all, is it the fault of the children when they do not have access to healthy sources of water points? Secondly, is it the children’s fault if community members are not sufficiently informed about the importance of hand washing?

Like students at Ngamanzo Primary School, you will definitely answer “No”! So why are children having to pay the price because adults forget or refuse to act in accordance with their commitments?

Deaths that can be avoided

According to the MICS 2010 survey, 158 children out of 1,000 live births die before ever reaching their 5th birthday. Many of these deaths have been attributed to diseases caused unsanitary dirty hands

And yet, article 24 of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, in Paragraph E, clearly states that States Parties must take appropriate measures to ensure that everyone receives information on health, nutrition and sanitation and that everyone receives assistance to use this information.

We, Young Reporters, think that all these deaths of children due to the diseases of unsanitary dirty hands are just too many deaths! These deaths occur because the different decision-makers on water, hygiene and sanitation issues do not follow through on nor fulfill their commitments to children.

It’s never too late to do better and improve!

The celebration of Handwashing Day is an opportunity to remind everyone of their commitments to children and to ensure that by 2030, the mortality rate will be reduced to 25 deaths per every 1,000 live births (currently the fatality death rate is 158 deaths per every 1,000 live births).

Thus, we recommend that the Government install sanitary water source points in schools and in all other living environments where there are children present and provide regular sanitary and safe drinking water. We also ask him to widely publish and promote Hygiene and Sanitation Instructions and to punish School Officials and Heads of Households whom do not respect these Hygiene and Sanitation Instructions.

We ask School Officials not to wait for the days of celebration for Handwashing Day to set up hand-washing devices, but rather to do it every day while the school is open and in use by student pupils. It is up to the parents to ensure that these children wash their hands properly at the most appropriate times.

Dear children friends whom have the opportunity to read us, we also ask you to get into the habit of washing your hands in groups, especially when you are at school. If you wash your hands in groups, everyone can see how others do it, and other children can then imitate the best way to wash their hands, such as playing and singing with other friends during handwashing!

More info about hand washing in DRC:

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Monica est enfant reporter de la Ville-Province de Kinshasa depuis 2014. Son crédo ? « Pour la survie des enfants, je ne me tairai jamais ».

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