Actor Xuan Bac became goodwill ambassador for water and sanitation in Viet Nam
Ha Noi, 30 November 2010 -- Xuan Bac, a well-known actor has been selected to be the Goodwill Ambassador for Water and Sanitation by the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development, Lien Aid and UNICEF. This is the first time in Viet Nam for a Goodwill Ambassador for water and sanitation to be appointed.
Water and sanitation related disease, despite being preventable, remains one of the most significant child health problems worldwide. In Viet Nam, according to WHO more than 20,000 people, mostly children, die every year due to unclean water and poor sanitation. Almost half of those deaths can be attributed to diarrheal diseases. One out of every three pregnant women and almost one out of every three children under five years of age are anaemic, which is partly caused by worm infection – one of the water and sanitation related diseases. Unsafe water and poor sanitation are also associated with a high malnutrition rate among children under five years of age in Viet Nam.
Poor knowledge and unhygienic practices are the main concerns in Viet Nam. Only 18 per cent of people in rural Viet Nam know that the use of hygienic latrines is linked to prevention of diarrhoeal and parasitic diseases. An estimated 12 per cent of rural population wash their hands with soap before meals and 16 per cent after defecation. “Evidence has shown that raising awareness and promoting the healthy behaviour are essential in improving water and sanitation condition. When the community are aware of the importance of the issue and motivated to act on it, the situation will be improved quickly and the achievements will be sustainable”, says Lotta Sylwander, UNICEF Representative in Viet Nam.
In his new role, Xuan Bac will help to raise awareness of the community about the importance of clean water and sanitation as well as to motivate people to adopt and maintain healthy behaviour. He will deliver his messages and call for the participation and action of the community on issues related to clean water and sanitation at different public events, through various on-site communication activities and mass media during the next two years.
Xuan Bac is a famous actor and comedian in Viet Nam. He is also well-known as a Master of Ceremony for various game shows of the National and Hanoi television stations. Friendly, simple and humours, Xuan Bac has a great influence on the people, especially on children and people living in rural areas of Viet Nam. “I feel I have a great responsibility as a Goodwill ambassador. I will try my best to make people understand about the importance of water and sanitation, carry out hygienic practices and more importantly, maintain the healthy behaviour”, say Xuan Bac at the ceremony to officially introduce him as the Goodwill Ambassador.