Hand Washing and Sanitary Education Programme Reaches Ecuador's Rural Schools


IOM Ecuador and the Ministry of Public Health this week signed a
Cooperation Agreement to strengthen the Hand Washing and Sanitary
Education Programme in rural schools located in the northern border
and southern border areas, as well as in the central highlands

Since October 2007, IOM Ecuador has been implementing the
Integrated Programme for Municipal Development (IPMD) focusing on
social and productive infrastructure development, sanitary
education, and the strengthening of local governments.

"IOM's Hand Washing and Sanitary Education programme joined
forces with the Ministry of Public Health to obtain the best
possible results," explains Alejandro Guidi, IOM Chief of Mission
in Ecuador.

The new agreement encourages residents to make it a habit to
wash their hands with soap to help reduce diarrhoea and
parasite-related diseases. 

According to a study published by the UN's Economic Commission
for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Ecuadorian mothers of
children under five reported a 21 per cent incidence of
diarrhoea.  And statistics show that 8.1 per cent of deaths of
children under five in the country are caused by acute diarrheal

Research has confirmed that to effectively reduce cases of
diarrhoea and parasitosis, aside from access to clean water and
adequate sanitation services, the population must be encouraged to
wash their hands with soap and water.

The IOM programme is being implemented in places where water
systems have been rehabilitated or built and are fully
operational.  The water systems have been constructed or
rehabilitated with funding from the United States Agency for
International Development (USAID) and are part of an IOM programme
aimed at impoverished border areas that are host to Colombians
fleeing the violence in their country.

IOM's Northern Border Development Programme ran from 2001 to
2007 with funding from USAID and the support of the Ecuadorian
Government.  The Programme invested USD 61 million in 270
infrastructure projects, which included 124 potable water systems,
43 water and sewer systems, 74 bridges, 12 roads, 10 irrigation
systems, and three solid waste plants, amongst others, and directly
benefitted more than 94,000 families (423,922 persons).

For more information please contact:

Ana Guzman

IOM Ecuador

Tel: +593.2.225.3948

E-mail: "mailto:aguzman@oim.org.ec">aguzman@oim.org.ec