Hand washing helps reduce school absenteeism

School absenteeism, now a major problem, is causing students to miss a total of 443 million school days every year worldwide. This is based on the data provided by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
Date Posted: Nov 4, 2015

MANILA -- School absenteeism, now a major problem, is causing students to miss a total of 443 million school days every year worldwide. This is based on the data provided by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

Absenteeism is said to be caused by limited access to safe water, and problems in sanitation and hygiene. Hence, students tend to have health problems that inevitably cause a backlash in their academic performance.

Jon Michael Villaseñor from UNICEF said, "Ang ubo't sipon ay madalas dahilan ng... pag-absent ng mga bata sa paaralan. Hindi siya nakakapaglaro nang mas maayos. Hindi siya nakakapag-aral nang maayos. At hindi siya nakakapag-ugnayan sa ibang bata at sa iba pang mga bagay na dapat gawin."

Hazel Blanche, a mother, has experienced this with her daughter many times. "Medyo matamlay, tapos 'yung parang sisinghot-singhot, parang sisipunin," Blanche said describing her daughter's behavior one day after attending school.

However, UNICEF said that school absenteeism can be reduced using a simple but effective way.

Their study showed that school absenteeism is reduced by 27% through frequent hand washing using soap and clean water.

Villaseñor added that hand washing should be properly observed during critical moments. This is after playtime, before preparing the food, before and after eating, after going to the toilet, and after playing with an animal.

Blanche, after learning this, said, "'Yung paghuhugas ng kamay isa sa makakatulong para makabawas 'yung pagkakasakit ng mga bata, lalo na ng paggamit ng soap."

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