13 October 2023

How to teach your kids handwashing

One of the cheapest, easiest, and most important ways you can keep your child safe from disease is to get them to wash their hands frequently. Here are some tips on how to turn handwashing into a healthy habit for life:  , 1. Explain the benefits of handwashing, Let your child know that washing hands can keep them safe from bacteria and viruses that can make them and others around them sick. Teach them about how even though germs are invisible, they could still be there. Explain to them that regular handwashing is as important as brushing your teeth or eating a healthy meal.  , 2. Demonstrate the correct steps of handwashing, Explain that to eliminate all traces of infection-causing bacteria on your hands, a quick scrub and rinse isn’t enough. Here’s a step-by-step guide for effective handwashing: Step 1: Wet hands with running water Step 2: Apply enough soap to cover wet hands Step 3: Scrub all surfaces of the hands – including back of hands, between fingers and under…, 3. How long should you wash hands?, Hands should be washed with soap for at least 20-30 seconds. An easy way to time this is by singing the full “happy birthday” song, twice. The same goes if using hand sanitizer: Use a sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol and rub it into your hands for at least 20 seconds to ensure full coverage. Remember: hand sanitizer can be toxic if…, 4. Set the times they should be washing their hands, Your child should wash their hands frequently throughout the day. Here are some of the times you should always wash your hands: When hands are visibly dirty  Before and after eating After using the toilet After touching animals and pets After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing  , 5. Turn it into a fun family activity, Here are some ways you can help children wash their hands by making handwashing easier and fun for them:, Did you know?, 1. Is warm or cold water better?, You can use any temperature of water to wash your hands. Cold water and warm water are equally effective at killing germs and viruses – as long as you use soap!  , 2. Is drying hands important?, Germs spread more easily from wet skin than from dry skin, so drying your hands completely is an important step. Paper towels or clean cloths are the most effective way to remove germs without spreading them to other surfaces.  , 3. Soap and water or hand sanitizer – which is better?, In general, both handwashing with soap and water and hand sanitizer, when done correctly, are highly effective at killing most germs and pathogens. But if your hands look dirty, you should wash them with soap and water. Although hand sanitizer is often more convenient when you are outside of the home, it is less effective on visibly dirty hands.…
05 September 2023

Breathless beginnings

Children are uniquely vulnerable to air pollution, with devastating effects on their health and development. Scientific evidence shows air pollution contributes to adverse birth outcomes including preterm births and low birth weights, infant mortality,  damaged lung function, illness and diseases including asthma, cardiovascular disease and cancer…, PM10 is roughly one-seventh the diameter of a human hair. It consists of sulfate, nitrates, ammonia, sodium chloride, and black carbon; it may also include concentrations of natural windblown dust. PM10 is harmful to health because it can block and inflame nasal and bronchial passages, causing a variety of respiratory-related conditions that lead…, Case Study: UNICEF’s work on cleaner air for children in Kyrgyzstan, In Kyrgyzstan, air pollution is the single biggest environmental risk factor for premature death and ill-health, with young children among the most affected. In Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan a UNICEF study found that residents are exposed to annual average concentrations that range from moderately elevated to far more than concentrations known to cause…, Recommendations to governments across Europe and Central Asia , UNICEF calls on governments and institutions in countries across the region to devote greater attention and resources to prevent worsening air pollution, support energy efficiency and access to clean energy, support cleaner air measures and protect children from exposure. Particular attention must be paid to addressing the magnified health risks…, Walk the talk, Ensure air quality standards are in line with WHO guidelines. Support access to clean energy and the use of cleaner fuels and reduce the dependency on the use of fossil fuels. Promote energy efficiency including expanding district heating, revision of existing building standards for public facilities (schools, kindergarten and hospitals) for…, Focus on child-sensitive interventions, Ensure pollution free zones near schools, kindergartens, and health facilities. Set up and maintain air quality monitoring systems nearby kindergartens and schools, and report information to the public and noting levels of air pollution that are dangerous to children and pregnant women. Train health providers and professionals to assess child…, Raise awareness and advocate, Raise awareness of air pollution and its impact on child health Collect disaggregated data on the effects and sources of air pollution, with a specific focus on research and recognition for pregnant women, infants and children.  Advocate for air pollution and its impacts on children to be considered in national climate and environmental policies,…, Breathless beginnings: the alarming impact of air pollution on children in Europe and Central Asia Breathless beginnings: the alarming impact of air pollution on children in Europe and Central Asia P O L I C Y B R I E F 05.09.23 Air pollution is a major environmental health risk for children. In 2019, 5,801 children and teenagers in 52 countries…
28 July 2023

Heat wave safety tips

Heat waves are anything but fun in the sun. Extreme heat and humidity can be extremely uncomfortable and pose serious health risks, especially for infants, children, pregnant women and the elderly. Without taking the proper precautions, extreme heat can lead to heat stroke and even worse, fatality. As a result of climate change, heat waves are…, Heat wave facts, Heatwave facts: A girl stands under the hot sun What is a heat wave?  Heat waves happen when the temperature is higher than normal for several days in a row. Humidity can cause it to feel much hotter. What causes a heat wave?  Heat waves result from warm air being trapped in the atmosphere and are a natural weather phenomenon. Heat waves are…, What to do in a heat wave, How to prepare for a heatwave: A girl stands next to a fan Be prepared Know how hot and humid it is going to get today, this week and this month to help plan outside activities. Keep an emergency kit at home that contains oral rehydration salt (ORS) packets, a thermometer, water bottles, towels or cloths to wet for cooling, a handheld fan or…, Signs and symptoms of heat-related illness, How to recognize symptoms of heatstroke: A girl looks confused as a caregiver supports her Severe symptoms of heat stress require urgent care.  If a family member is presenting any of the severe symptoms below you should call for an ambulance or arrange for another form of transport to a health facility immediately. Trust your instincts and don’t…, Symptoms of heat-related illness, Milder symptoms - treat at home Severe symptoms – take to hospital immediately General Dry lips/sticky mouth Excessive thirst Excessive sweating Weakness /dizziness Nausea/vomiting Small blisters/rashes Heat rashes Mild fever Nosebleeds Cramps, usually in arms and legs Confusion/not responding clearly /seizures/coma/not waking up (MOST SEVERE)…, How to treat heatstroke and heat-related illnesses, How to treat heat related illness: A girl lies on the floor while a caregiver provides water Take the following steps to help your loved one cool, rehydrate and recover:, 1. Cool and rush to health facility if severe, If a family member is experiencing severe symptoms of heat-related illnesses, it is important to cool first and transport second.   Help the person sit or lie down in a cool shaded area with good ventilation. Close curtains to create more shade. Turn on a fan or air conditioner if available. Apply wet towels to the skin at head, neck, armpits and…, 2. Reduce temperature, Move the person into a cool area if not done so already. Close curtains to create more shade. Turn on a fan or air conditioner if available.    Apply wet towels or cool water to the body, particularly at head, neck, armpits and groin. Keep changing the towels or dipping them in cool water every few minutes to provide cool water for the body. If…, 3. Rehydrate, Infants under six months: Breastfeed to rehydrate the infant. Encourage mother to also drink more water, especially if breastfeeding.  Older infants and children: Given your infant or child water in small amounts to help them become used to it.  If the child has sweated a lot or is sweating a lot, add some Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS) to the water…
27 July 2023

Beat the heat

Heatwaves pose serious risks to children’s health and well-being. Despite the extensive risks children face from heatwaves and other climate hazards, public awareness, policy responses and financing are deeply inadequate. This policy brief outlines the severity of the problem and provides clear recommendations on how to protect children and their…, The ability to avoid, manage and build resilience to chronic heat exposure in the future will depend on decisions taken now. Urban design and infrastructure investment, socioeconomic inequality and climate change risks must be managed simultaneously. Residents of dense urban areas can be particularly susceptible to heatwaves. Communities with less…, How heatwaves affect children, Heat-related illnesses occur when exposure to high temperatures and humidity, which can be intensified by physical exertion, overwhelms the body’s ability to cool itself. Cases range from mild, like heat rashes in infants, to more serious, life-threatening outcomes like heatstroke, diagnosed once the body temperature rises above 40 degrees Celsius…, Recommendations to governments, 1. Incorporate heatwave mitigation and adaptation into policy, Incorporate heatwave mitigation and adaptation into National Determined Contributions (NDC), National Adaptation Plans (NAP), and Disaster Risk Reduction and disaster risk management policies, keeping children at the centre of all plans., 2. Invest in primary health care, Invest in primary health care to support prevention, early action, diagnosis, and treatment of heat-related illness among children. This includes training community health workers, teachers, early child development caregivers, midwives, nurses, and doctors., 3. Invest in national climate early warning systems, Invest in national climate early warning systems, carry out local environmental assessments, and support emergency preparedness and resilience building initiatives., 4. Adapt services to cope with the impacts of heatwaves, Adapt water, sanitation and hygiene, health, education, nutrition, social protection and child protection services to cope with the impacts of heatwaves., 5. Ensure adequate financing, Ensure adequate financing to fund interventions that protect children and their families from heatwaves., 6. Equip children with education and training, Equip children and young people with climate change education and green skills training. Science shows that increased temperatures are a result of climate change. UNICEF urges governments across Europe and Central Asia to reduce CO2 emissions to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and double adaptation funding by 2025. Heatwaves Any period…, Policy Brief Beat the heat: protecting children from heatwaves in Europe and Central Asia 2Beat the heat: protecting children from heatwaves in Europe and Central Asia OverviewHeatwaves pose serious risks to childrens health and well-being. Children exposed to heatwaves are prone to a multitude of health problems ranging from heat-stroke to…
28 June 2023

The impact of Covid-19 on the maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition services

Overall, changes in mortality in the ECA region due to service disruption have been mild. Data suggests that swift action to restore services was effective and able to limit any negative and unintended consequences of the global pandemic. One key element, related to disruptions in service, has been the degree to which healthcare workers were…, As the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be assessed, a better understanding of health system disruption and the consequences for maternal and child health in the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region would be valuable to guide programme planning and priority setting by global health stakeholders. The objective of this mixed-method…, Recommendations , Europe and Central Asia, Overall recommended targeted actions to safeguard essential maternal and newborn services include: The pandemic has highlighted the importance of investing in resilient health systems that can respond to crises while maintaining essential services. Governments, health organizations, and communities must work together to address the impacts of…, Albania, Maintaining the delivery of essential MNCHN services during a global pandemic and other emergencies requires a strong and resilient health system. Several key areas will be critical to restore, rebuild, and strengthen in order to improve health outcomes. Recommendations for Albania focus on the importance of contingency planning, a strong healthy…, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Maintaining the delivery of essential MNCHN services during a global pandemic and other emergencies requires a strong and resilient health system. Several key areas will be critical to restore, rebuild, and strengthen in order to improve health outcomes. Recommendations for Bosnia and Herzegovina focus on the importance of sound leadership to…, Kosovo*, Maintaining the delivery of essential MNCHN services during a global pandemic will require a strong and resilient health system. Several key areas will be critical to restore, rebuild, and strengthen in order to improve health outcomes. Recommendations for Kosovo focus on rebuilding and maintaining adequate stockpiles of key resources needed to…, Montenegro, To maintain delivery of essential MNCHN services during a global pandemic will require a strong and resilient health system. Several key areas are critical to restore, rebuild, and strengthen in order to improve health outcomes. Recommendations for Montenegro focus on strengthening the health information systems to support key functions such as…, Serbia, To maintain delivery of essential MNCHN services during a global pandemic will require a strong and resilient health system. Several key areas will be critical to restore, rebuild, and strengthen in order to improve health outcomes. Recommendations for Serbia focus on strengthening the health information system to serve as a robust, reliable, and…, The impact of Covid-19 on the maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition services in the Europe and Central Asia Region UNICEF Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia Geneva, Switzerland Telephone: +41 22 909 5111 Email: ecaro@unicef.org ww.unicef.org/eca Cover photo: UNICEF/UN0338838/Zhanibekov United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF)…