UNICEF Advocates Proper Hand Hygiene to Prevent Bird Flu

(March 22, 2007 )

Cases of bird flu are cases of children dying because of bird flu, hence it is of utmost importance that all efforts are done in keeping Philippine bird flu free. Thus says Mr. Nilo A. Yacat, Senior Programme Monitoring Assistant of UNICEF during the March 19-21 Seminar-Workshop on Stay Bird Flu Free Philippines at the Richville Hotel in Mandaluyong City.

About one-half of the total number of bird flu victims all over the world, are children. Of the total number of deaths caused by bird flu, one-third is composed of children. These blatant facts make the advocacy of UNICEF unilateral with the Stay Bird Flu Free Philippines.

This is the very reason why UNICEF is now involved in the IWAS BIRD FLU advocacy campaign, Mr. Yacat informed the PIA Regional Directors and Provincial Information Managers who were the participants in the seminar-workshop. The children are most vulnerable to bird flu and so the PIA information experts are requested to focus their advocacy programs in communicating bird flu to the children of the country.

Believing that everything is communication, UNICEF received a grant from the Government of Japan specifically for communication campaign on keeping the Philippines bird flu free. It is worth noting that Japan is one of the biggest importer of poultry products. Considering that Southeast Asia is the hardest hit with only the Philippines , Brunei and Singapore not affected with bird flu, Japan deemed it important to help keep the Philippines bird flu free. Japan has already assisted the bird flu stricken countries of Southeast Asia.

UNICEF is particularly focused on the communications side, particularly for children, in the prevention of bird flu in the country. It is important to inform and educate the Filipino children and other people not to touch sick or dying chicken or any other birds.

Observing proper hygiene, specifically hand hygiene plays a vital role in the prevention of bird flu. It is important that children and other people make it a habit to wash their hands.