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Water, Sanitation, Hygiene ‘Key Priorities’

Water, Sanitation, Hygiene ‘Key Priorities’
From left: Permanent Secretary for Health and Medical Services Susan Kiran, WASH co-ordinator Suliasi Batikawai, Minister for Health and Medical Services Rosy Akbar, Deputy Australian High Commissioner to Fiji Amy Cargo, Chief Health Inspector Dip Chand and Deputy Secretary for Health Eric Rafai after the handover ceremony of WASH kits at the Ministry of Health headquarters in Suva on May 11, 2018. Photo: Ministry of Health and Medical Services
May 12
11:00 2018

One of the key two priorities of Government has been to restore access to Water and Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) for families affected by natural disas­ters.

Minister for Health and Medical Services Rosy Akbar made the re­mark during the handover of the WASH kits for Tropical Cyclone Josie and Keni to support the minis­try’s response at its Suva headquar­ters yesterday.

The 1000 WASH kits handed over by the Australian Government con­tained essential items such as col­lapsible water cans, water purifica­tion tablets, sanitary pads and soap. This can cater for the basic wash needs of a family of five for a month.

Ms Akbar said the hygiene kits were life-changing consumable goods used every day in communi­ties around the world that are re­covering from recent humanitarian crises and natural disasters.

She said maintaining personal hy­giene was critical for many health reasons, including personal, social, and, psychological health or simply as a way to ensure the well being of families.

“These hygiene kits offer a first line of defence against the spread of illness that are mainly communica­ble diseases,” Ms Akbar said.

“Having these WASH Kits is the first step towards ensuring good health and they provide tangible hope for those who need these much-needed tools.

“These kits will greatly assist our affected communities by providing much-needed support in the min­istry’s role and efforts to combat communicable diseases during post disaster situations. Most of the kits will be distributed first to TC Josie and Keni affected areas such as Ra­kiraki, Ba, Nadi and Kadavu and later on will be prepositioned in all the other districts in Fiji,” Ms Ak­bar said.

The Deputy Australian High Com­missioner to Fiji, Amy Cargo, said the kits were essential to supporting the work of the ministry’s Environ­mental Health Unit in post-disaster situations.

She said in emergency situations, access to clean water and function­ing sanitation was vital because contaminated water and unhygienic sanitation facilities could lead to disease and even death.

“For this reason, water, sanita­tion and hygiene interventions are among the most important elements of these humanitarian responses,” Ms Cargo said.

“The kits provide families with the tools to be able to protect themselves against the potential spread of dis­ease and allow them to focus on oth­er aspects of emergency recovery.”

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback: ashna.kumar@fijisun.com.fj

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