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2008.05.08

* Pakistan promotes hygiene and basic interventions to save young lives
* 시간: 2분 54초
* 28 Apr 2008

In this town in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province, villagers take to the streets -- not in protest, but to raise awareness about the health perils facing their children.

They might well be protesting, because in Pakistan an alarming number of children are dying needlessly. Every day more than 1,000 children under the age of five die from entirely preventable diseases like diarrhea, pneumonia and measles.

Nuzhat Jangul is doing her bit to help stop the trend during Child Health and Sanitation Week, which is supported by UNICEF. She is trained to spread the message that in poor rural communities …basic hygiene and sanitation save lives.

SOUNDBITE (Urdu) Javeda Iqbal, 36 years, mother of three:
“In my family and the community there have been deaths of children. When we hear about them we really get scared.”

He doesn’t know it, but 14-month old Assad is benefitting directly from the increased awareness of his mother. He was taken to hospital suffering early stage diorrhea and was put on a course of oral rehydration salts and minerals vital for his survival. Such targetted interventions were first piloted by UNICEF in Africa and helped reduce child mortality by 20 to 30 percent.

SOUNDBITE (English) Dr Nabila Zaka, UNICEF Health Specialist:
“We are hoping that with similar interventions plus added on activities and communications we can achieve much more.”

Another challenge for health workers is to ensure basic vaccinations – protection against tetanus, diptheria, TB, measles and polio. One of the best ways for this is to co-opt the country’s religious leaders, who preach weekly about on health. Local imams have adopted the topics of hygiene and safe water to help their communities understand issues shrouded in mystery.

SOUNDBITE IMAM, Maulana Mohammed Burhan (Urdu):
“The problem here is people are not very aware or well educated in health and hygiene. It is part of our religious duty to teach people about cleanliness because it’s a directive from Allah.”

As awareness is sanctioned from on high … a transformation of knowledge takes place. And the children of Pakistan, and ultimately their children, have a far better chance of survival.



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