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De-worming and handwashing promotion drive targets 4 million Angolan schoolchildren

© UNICEF Angola/2009/Sani
UNICEF and its partners aim to reach 4 million Angolan students with a campaign promoting good health and flu-prevention through handwashing and good hygiene.

Global Handwashing Day 2009, to be observed on 15 October, will revolve around promoting hygiene in schools. Here is a related story.

LUANDA, Angola, 6 October 2009 – Angola has launched an integrated school health campaign that is expected to reach 4 million children.

The campaign, which will promote handwashing and provide de-worming, aims to prevent the transmission of the H1N1 influenza virus and decrease gastro-intestinal diseases.

Launching the campaign at a primary school in Luanda, Vice-Minister of Health Evelize Frestas  told children that handwashing with soap is a simple, low-cost, life-saving practice – and one that is accessible to all Angolans.

"Now, with the worldwide H1N1 influenza epidemic threatening Angola, handwashing with soap is even more important than ever," she said.

Broader benefits

UNICEF and its partners hope that the campaign will have broader benefits.

© UNICEF Angola/2009/Hvass
UNICEF Angola Officer-in-Charge Margaret Brown speaking at the launch of a campaign to improve the health of Angolan schoolchildren by teaching them proper handwashing.

"Healthy children are better learners, and the progress of our nation depends on this," said Vice-Minister of Education Ana Paula Fernando.

National de-worming campaigns have taken place in Angolan schools since 2006.  Last year, 700 schools participated in the country's Global Handwashing Day activities.  This year, nearly 500 kindergartens are also involved in the 2009 handwashing day observance, which takes place next week.

Promoting health

UNICEF Angola Officer-in-Charge Margaret Brown urged all children to set an example for their families.

"Be promoters of your own health, in school and at home, all year round," she said.

One young Angolan whose voice will continue to be heard in the country's homes and schools is the singer Pedrito do Bié. A star of Global Handwashing Day in 2008, Pedrito's song is hitting the airwaves and TV screens again. And this year he has added another catchy tune – on de-worming – to remind children, parents and teachers to keep up good health with proper hygiene.



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