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UNICEF urges Sudanese households to prioritize hygiene and prevent disease

KHARTOUM, JUBA 30 June 2008 - With most of Sudan experiencing the onset of the annual rainy season, UNICEF is urging households to prioritize personal and household hygiene in an effort to reduce the risks from water-borne diseases.

In 2007, a combination of water treatment programmes and improved hygiene education prevented a serious incidence of acute water diarrhoea and cholera in the country.

“The start of the rains increases the likelihood of water-borne diseases, which can lead to fatalities especially amongst children,” said UNICEF Representative Ted Chaiban. “However, effective actions by individuals can reduce the risks of major outbreaks. Everyone must play their part to protect their own health.”

An estimated 28 per cent of children under the age of five in Sudan will experience diarrhoeal disease during a year. UNICEF recommends a number of simple measures that families can take to protect themselves from water-borne diseases:

• Obtain all water from safe sources such as hand pumps
• In all cases, only use chlorinated or boiled water.
• Keep drinking water covered and only use clean cups, pots and jerry cans
• Wash your hands before touching or eating food
• Wash your hands every time after visiting the latrine
• Keep your latrine clean and free of flies
• Wash vegetables and fruit before cooking or eating, and eat food while still hot.
• Keep food well covered and free of flies
• Seek immediate medical attention in case of illnesses such as diarrhoea

UNICEF and its partners are actively supporting a programme of preventative measures to reduce the risk of water-borne illnesses; for example through supporting chlorination of water sources for some 2.1 million people in the northern states, tankering of clean water to more than 96,000 people per week in Juba, installing surface water treatment plants in Southern Sudan producing 670m3 per day, ensuring sufficient medical supplies such as oral rehydration salts are already at state level in case of any disease outbreaks, and implementing public education programmes through the mass media and at community level across all Sudan.

“UNICEF is pleased to be a key actor in preventing disease outbreaks during the rainy season, but providing supplies and cleaning water sources is not enough by itself,” said Ted Chaiban. “Every household must do what it can to ensure it is protected against water-related diseases – not just in the rainy season, but throughout the year.”


UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.

For further information, please contact:

Edward Carwardine, Chief, Media and External Relations, UNICEF Sudan; Tel: +249-912-177291.  ecarwardine@unicef.org




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