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Mar 6, 2020

Wash And Sanitation Hygiene Stakeholders Meet

The Ministry of Health, along with UNICEF, Ministry of Education, SIF, Belize Red Cross and other partners, has held a national consultation for the Wash And Sanitation Hygiene initiative, for Belize. The partners pledged to continue to work together as they reviewed the initiative’s standard operating procedures. Chair of the WASH Multisectoral Body, Kathleen Azueta-Cho, says the event is very timely and highlights the need for increased hygiene and sanitation measures in light of the spread of COVID-19 around the world.

 

Kathleen Azueta-Cho

Kathleen Azueta-Cho, Chair, WASH Multisectoral Body

“Today we are having that consultation or that discussion. We are reviewing what our standard operating procedures for schools and communities are. It is basically some existing tools that are already in place and some of these components include hygiene, sanitation, operation and maintenance; proper nutrition. So, the idea is to revisit these areas and see how well we could implement these initiatives in the schools in the institution where students are using the bathroom facilities and where they are getting the education on hand hygiene, things like that.  We do need to work on the facilities when we look at the infrastructure of the bathroom facilities that some of the schools have. The standards do need to be revisited, hence why we have these procedures where we are viewing them. A key partner in this is SIF where we have that hard component which is looking at the construction of these facilities and this is where the other technical individuals come or the other technical ministries, like health or education; because we are bringing that softer component pushing that education, the importance of hand washing and of maintain infrastructure and facilities in place. So, we are working towards that but we do need to have that conversation with the people who are utilizing these facilities.  Something as simple as hand washing – it is a key protective role in epidemics. And you are right that we are facing a public health emergency of international concern. So, hand washing can save lives. We are pushing the messages. We are going into communities; schools. We are doing it at home. So, it is only going to be stressed further more and the partnership will be strengthened as we move into this start phase where preparing and implementing actions should we get a case of COVID-19.”


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