Save the Children said parents and caregivers should promote hygiene practices including hand washing with soap among children to protect them from respiratory ailments and infections including 2019 Novel (new) Coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV.
Atty. Alberto Muyot, Chief Executive Officer said children under five years-old are the most vulnerable to diseases because of their weak immune system.
“Every child has the right to have access to safe water supply, adequate sanitation facilities at home, in school, especially in emergency situations like the Taal volcano eruption where children are among the most affected,” said Muyot.
Save the Children provides access to safe water for drinking and hygiene, toilets and hand washing facilities in schools to ensure children in deprived and hard to reach areas are protected from preventable diseases.
He raised concern that thousands of learners miss out on school due to the suspension of classes in selected schools in Metro Manila, as preventive move to stop possible spread of corona virus.
There has been no confirmed cases of Corona virus in the Philippines but it became a global concern following 2,700 confirmed cases in mainland China that left 80 people dead.
Jonathan Valdez, Advisor for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) of Save the Children Philippines said parents and caregivers have important roles to protect children from airborne diseases and infections.
“Children learn by example, including proper hygiene practice of parents and caregivers,” he said.
He said children can learn from parents some hygiene practices to protect themselves such as:
• Proper hand washing with soap and clean water.
• Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with dirty hands
• Avoid getting near other child/adult who is sick
• Avoid eating raw or undercooked animal products.
Valdez said children at play outside should learn cough etiquette. “Teach them to cover their mouth and nose with flexed elbow, tissue paper or cloth when coughing or sneezing.”
He added that when coughing or sneezing to tissue papers, children should throw it into the trash bin and wash hands with soap and clean water immediately.
Valdez also reminded parents and caregivers to handle and prepare food safely, cook animal products thoroughly. Parents and caregivers should maintain clean, surfaces and objects particularly for babies prone to putting objects to their mouth.
He also urged parents and caregivers to seek medical help when their children or they themselves feel sick. Do not self-medicate.
“By protecting themselves, parents and caregivers can prevent the spread of airborne diseases at home, thus, setting the first line of defense for their children,” said Valdez.
Valdez also underscored the importance of breastfeeding particularly babies who are two years-old and below to strengthen their immune system.
Save the Children is advocating exclusive breastfeeding to babies from newborn to six months and continuous breastfeeding to babies up to two years old.