Thrive Teaches Students the Importance of Proper Hand Washing
By Rose Blanchard, Thrive Advisor Council and Public Health Professional
Diarrheal diseases are one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality among children in Bangladesh. This not only impacts their overall health but their ability to attend and perform well in school. Children with diarrhea tend to eat less, and their bodies cannot absorb all the nutrients from the foods they consume, which can ultimately lead to undernutrition and stunting. However, numerous studies show that knowing when and how to wash hands with soap properly can prevent infections and save lives.
Thrive has held hygiene presentations at schools to promote awareness and understanding about hand washing to students, their family members, teachers, and other school staff. Thrive shares information on the relationship between hygiene practices, children’s nutritional health, and academic performance. It also addressed the critical times for hand washing: before cooking, before eating, after using the toilet, cleaning a baby’s bottom, and before and after taking care of a sick person. The presentation was well-received by everyone who attended, and students were eager to share what they learned with others in their community. The schools now keep soap available for students and staff, and hand washing has become routine.
Changing people’s behaviors can be challenging and can take time. Other factors can influence people’s decision to apply proper hand washing in their daily lives, such as the hand washing station’s location. But children can be effective agents of change, and they can share what they’ve learned at school with their friends and family members. This creates the potential to really make meaningful changes within a community. We are incredibly proud of all the students for their desire to be advocates for good hygiene practice.