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UNICEF reaches into vulnerable peri-urban households to help stem the spread of the H1N1 virus

UNICEF Representative handed over 12,000 bottles of the antibacterial hand sanitizer to Chairwoman of Citizens' Representative Khural of Bayanzurkh district's 22 khoroo

November 20, Ulaanbaatar – Women and children living in peri-urban areas, with limited or no access to running water or sanitation, will receive family size bottles of hand sanitizing gel and prevention messages as a result of an initiative by UNICEF.

“The evidence is clear that we must pay particular attention to pregnant women and children, said UNICEF Representative for Mongolia, Rana Flowers. “We considered where women and children were most vulnerable, and concluded that we must target those living in the areas where access to water and sanitation is weakest. Hand washing with soap and water is a key to preventing the spread of this disease, but where families have no access to running water, then use of the hand-gel is highly recommended”, she added.

The antibacterial hand sanitizer protects against a range of potentially unsafe micro-organisms and viruses. Today 75,000 bottles of 30ml sanitol, an antibacterial hand sanitizer, were handed over to 9 khoroos of the Country Programme focus districts in Ulaanbaatar city. The hand sanitizers will be distributed to 18,685 households reaching 75,000 people living in peri-urban areas of Bayangol, Bayanzurkh, Songino-Khairkhan and Baganuur districts as well as 430 children from six state run child care centers and the address identification centre.  Distribution of the locally-produced sanitol to households will be undertaken in close cooperation with local authorities.

Handing over of the antibacterial hand sanitizers, worth MNT 60 million, took place on 20 November at Bayanzurkh district’s Governor’s office. It was attended by Ms. Rana Flowers, UNICEF Representative, Mr. R. Munkhbat, Bayanzurkh District’s Deputy Governor, D. Enkhbayar, Head of Social Development Department of UB municipality and other city municipality, districts and khoroo officials as well as citizen’s representatives.

The distribution of the gels compliments a number of interventions that UNICEF has undertaken in support of the Government’s response to the rapid outbreak of the H1N1 in Mongolia. These interventions range from the provision of:

• life saving hospital equipment to be given to the Ministry of Health  - more than MNT 71 million worth of emergency care equipment including mother/ fetal monitors, puls oxymeters, syringe pumps,  resuscitators, oxygen concentrators, and Neonatal feeding tubes for intensive-care units in hospitals in Ulaanbaatar and aimags;

• hand gels for children now returning to school MNT 42.5 milion worth of 30ml sanitol to 5,524 classrooms from 108 public schools in UB and 28 schools in urbanized Orkhon and Darkhan-Uul aimags;

• In support of the very strong response of the Ministry of Education, an additional MNT 9,0  million from UNICEF went to the duplication and distribution of DVDs and VCDs containing 74 subjects for all grades for the total 605 public schools upon the request by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science;

• Through a close collaboration and support of local TV stations, UNICEF is also disseminating messages to school children on how to prevent and protect themselves from the virus through Public Service Announcements used during the TV classes and on local TV channels.

These efforts compliment and build on the initiatives and approaches taken by other UN, donor and NGO organisations in Mongolia.

Good hygiene is crucial to ongoing efforts to stem the spread of most disease and prevent women and children dying of preventable diseases.  Today we celebrate 20 years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and yet, while progress and improvements can be noted on many areas, access to and conditions of sanitation, the lack of adequate facilities and hand washing opportunities is an area that demands concerted and coordinated attention if we are to truly protect children from disease and achieve all MDGs, concluded Rana Flowers.



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