The pupils of Udaba Primary School in South Sudan have a memorable mantra about hygiene: ‘Health is wealth, prevention is better than a cure.’
They’ve been inspired by Tearfund teams to adopt hand washing and other good practices by joining school health clubs and the benefits are clear to see.
Teacher Aguot Arkangelo says prior to Tearfund’s work the school compound and toilets were in `a sorrowful condition’ due to the lack of awareness and cleaning facilities.
Aguot said, ‘I’m happy with Tearfund’s activities here because now you can see our school surroundings look beautiful. We have come a long way.
‘I now feel a lot more confident because of the support, ideas and the knowledge I and the pupils have received from Tearfund.
‘They gave us training, provided us with hygiene kits with nail cutters, tooth paste, brushes, soap, and importantly, hand washing facilities.
‘The surrounding community no longer misuse the school latrines as they used to because of the health messages passed on through songs and dramas to the pupils.’
Nearly 10 million children under the age of five die each year, mostly from preventable illnesses such as diarrhoea and malaria.
Working with local church partners across the world, Tearfund combats the causes and symptoms of diseases that keep millions in poverty and result in the death of one child every three seconds. We focus particularly on the world’s biggest killers – HIV and AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and water-borne diseases, like cholera.
We recognise that many factors influence the provision of healthcare to poor communities: from clean water and sanitation to hygiene awareness and education, from cultural issues that don’t allow women to attend hospital, to preventing the ‘brain drain’ that means trained doctors and health workers can make more for their skills outside their own countries.