Getting WASH on the timetable

1 August 2016

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Trachoma prevention is set to be included in the school curriculum in Tanzania, where international health charity Simavi, is to pilot a programme of behavioural change in schools through the Trust’s Trachoma Initiative.

Trachoma most commonly affects children, who tend to live in close proximity to one another. It is easily spread through the discharge that develops in the infected child’s eye, and is passed on by hands, on clothing, or by flies that land on an infected child’s face.

Promoting face washing in trachoma endemic communities is a crucial component of the WHO-endorsed SAFE Strategy that the Trust’s Trachoma Initiative is implementing to reduce the spread of infection. The pilot will focus on 32 schools across eight districts in Arusha, Dodoma and Lindi.

Simavi, whose mission is ‘basic health for all’, will assess the impact of existing school Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programmes and determine the potential for expansion across the country.

The programme will include the promotion of face washing, the control of the flies which transmit infection, and the overall cleanliness of the schools. Simavi will also look at incorporating trachoma prevention into teacher training.

Simavi works across Africa and East Asia, and has technical expertise in both WASH  and reproductive health. Their school pilot will work alongside the Face washing and Environmental improvement interventions that Helen Keller International are delivering in communities, and will reveal how effectively the two approaches work together to reduce the prevalence of infection.