New Delhi: For Sarfaraz, life was all about running from one hospital to the other. At just 10 years of age, when all his friends were going to school and playing outside their houses, Sarfaraz was confined to his home battling chronic diarrhoea. In India, every year, diarrhoea kills about 1.2 lakh children. Moreover, diarrhoea also destroys the gut of a child as a result he/she is unable to absorb any nutrients from the food and gets affected by stunting. India has around 48.2 million children, who are stunted.
On this World Health Day, NDTV visits Varanasi to find out how a school can save life of their children by providing them access to safe sanitation and teaching them basic hygiene.
Most of the days, Sarfaraz complained of stomach ache, vomiting, loose motions. Mostly, he attended school for 10 days a month. Even though, we kept going to doctors, but, they could not diagnose anything, said Sarfaraz’s mother.
While Sarfaraz was grappling with his poor health condition, his school adopted a hygiene programme through which the school started providing safe drinking water, improved sanitation facilities and basic hygiene education to their students.
In one of his irregular visits to the school, Sarfaraz, got to know about basic hygiene rules and soon started following them sincerely. Sarfaraz, would wash hands after using a toilet and before eating food. He also started wearing slippers. After sustaining these practices, Sarfaraz’s efforts started showing a positive effect on his health.
I see him washing his hands before he takes his food, or after he uses a toilet. His health is much better, moreover he has put on some weight, added Sarfaraz’s mother.
The Hygiene program that was adopted by Sarfaraz’s school – Ghaushabad Primary School is a strategic approach for providing a good health to its children and is commonly known as Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Education (WASH) in Schools. The widespread adoption of safe hygiene practices through an interactive, child-centred, participatory approach helps inculcate life skills and empowers school children to make good choices. Programs like Dettol Hygiene Curriculum by NDTV Banega Swachh India, WASH in schools by Water Aid India, PLAN India’s WASH Programme are focusing on improving hygiene and health across schools all over India.
Sarfaraz’s story makes for an interesting inclusion in school syllabi and more schools should come on board and adopt hygiene curriculum.