Children decide to be the change agents in their communities through “My School without Cholera” campaign
Maroua (Far North) Cameroon - 28 February 2013 - Schools are the new weapon against cholera. Children, parents and teachers associations in 200 flood impacted schools in Far North region came together to take pro-active steps to reduce the risks of a new outbreak of cholera epidemic after the end of the dry season, with the launch of “My School without Cholera” campaign by the Minister of Basic Education Ms. Youssouf Hadidja.
Severe floods recorded between August and November 2012 in Far North pose high risk of recurrence of the cholera outbreak and spread of waterborne diseases in 2013. However, this year authorities are not taking any chances having already tasted success in controlling cholera cases in 2012 after the nation- wide spread of the epidemic in 2010 and 2011. It may be noted that only 25 per cent of schools in the region have access to safe drinking water and only 27 per cent have latrines.
To kick-start the campaign, UNICEF supported the Government of Cameroon through the Ministry of Basic Education with materials worth $80,182 for the “My School without Cholera” campaign. Minister Youssouf Hadidja, Minister of Basic Education distributed materials which included 659 cartons of soap, 14,960 cups, exercise books, textbooks, pens, chalk as well as school in the box kits for primary school children in 200 affected government primary schools in the region.
“Take these materials, make good use of them, to impact life skills into the pupils so that they acquire the capacity to adopt essential family practices to prevent airborne diseases in the school milieu and at home”, said Minister Youssouf, to head teachers of government schools in the Far-North Region.
The materials will be used by teachers and trainers to demonstrate to the students the appropriate steps of hand washing, water purification and sanitation. Back home, the students are expected to put into practice the knowledge acquired in school and at the same time teaching their brothers, sisters, parents as well as friends, the essential family practices.