News and Opinions  –  2019

School children led celebration of World Toilet Day and World Antibiotic Awareness Week

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2019-11-24

This year’s World Antibiotic Awareness Week was definitely a memorable one. ReAct Africa was honored to combine the World Toilet Day celebrations on 19th November 2019 with antimicrobial resistance awareness activities, in an event led by pupils from 3 elementary schools from Siaya and Kisumu counties in Kenya; namely, Karapul, Segere and Orongo primary schools.

Tracie Muraya, ReAct Africa with the primary school children. Happy bunch! Photo: ReAct Africa.

The event, held at the Karapul primary school was themed “Leaving No-One Behind because The future of Antibiotics Depends on All of Us” was attended by community members, teachers, community health workers, Siaya county’s County Executive Council  for Public Health and the Siaya Public Health Officer as well as a few WASH partners.

Siaya County achieved 100% “open defecation free” status long before the 2020 target, and as a result, has been free of Cholera outbreaks for the last 2 consecutive years, contrary to the past. The county leadership is therefore cognizant of the importance of effective antibiotics and in full support of AMR interventions.

Focus on good hand hygiene and proper use of toilets

 

During the day the children learned about the importance of good hand hygiene, proper use of toilets. Here two young girls demonstrate how to wash your hands properly. Photo: ReAct Africa.

The children, aged between 9 to 12 years and enrolled in their respective schools’ health clubs, communicated messages on the importance of good hand hygiene, proper use of toilets and adherence to antibiotics, through songs, dance, illustrations and poems. Same messages were passed on by community health volunteers  involved in the ReAct Alforja project, through skits and dance.

What is the ReAct Alforja project?

Alforja Educativa is a tool to create awareness on antimicrobial resistance amongst children and teachers in schools. It is a compilation of activity guides, story books, songs and videos. In 2015, ReAct Latin America successfully employed the Alforja Educativa amongst children and teachers in selected schools across Cuenca, Ecuador. The tool was translated to English language in the year 2017. The team then proposed the need to adapt it to other contexts through a pilot training and validation project in Africa which ReAct Africa is currently implementing  in Kenya in collaboration with Ace Africa via the Child-to-Child methodology.

Children will pass messages and lessons to families and communities

School children reading comic strips about antibiotic resistance. Photo: ReAct Africa.

Preparations towards this successful event were partly guided by the Bacterial World and Antibiotic Use chapters in the adapted Alforja guide booklet, as well as the school curricula on hygiene and nutrition and water and sanitation (WASH) activities. Despite the short 3rd school term (2 months), the Child to Child teachers and community health volunteers were able to understand these topics and capacitate the children on the same, and especially on how best the children would pass the important messages and lessons to their families and communities.

Tracie Muraya, ReAct Africa program officer says:

“The event was a true reflection of the importance of multi sectoral collaboration in addressing antimicrobial resistance in sync with other public health issues, rather than in silos. We look forward to more child-led exciting and impactful Alforja-based activities throughout the remainder of the project’s lifetime and beyond.”

The approximate total of all students registered in the 3 schools that participated is about 10,000 (Karapul alone has 6,000; Orongo 2,700 and Segere about 1300).

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