Saving children from death and diarrhea

Unsanitary environment makes residents, especially children, more vulnerable to diarrhea and other diseases.

Type: Story

Saving children from death and diarrhea

A little rain could spell big trouble.

In Market 3, a small community of informal settlers in Barangay North Boulevard Bay North (NBBN) in Navotas City, families are pestered by frequent floods and a heavy flow of trash.

This is due to the lack of proper drainage and waste management systems.

On bad days, the flooding goes above an adult’s waist. This could already drown a small child.

Such unsanitary environment makes residents, especially children, more vulnerable to diarrhea and other diseases.

“Many children here experience cough and colds,” said Dr Elenita Felipe from the Barangay health Center. “Also diarrhea especially during the rainy season,” Felipe added, “It’s mostly due to poor water sanitation.”

Diarrhea is among the leading causes of death among children under 5 years old. It’s both a cause and effect of malnutrition.

In fact, malnourished children are at a higher risk of dying due to diarrhea.

Educating parents

While budget is an issue, some parents also lack knowledge on hygiene and nutrition. Some don’t boil water before using, Felipe observed.

Children’s wounds are also often infected since they play in flood water.

“Some children play in the mud, they play with maggots. And there are rats here as big as cats,” said Rogelina Balderian, Save the Children’s community mobilizer in Navotas City.

Your donation of P1,000 could already help us train parents, health workers, or teachers who would then spread the word about proper hygiene and sanitation.

‘Flying saucers’

In Market 3, defecating out in the open is normal. Residents wrap their waste in newspapers or plastic bags, before “shooting them into space.” In jest, they call these “flying saucers.”

As of 2011, 9.6% of Filipino households don’t have toilets, according to the National Nutrition Survey.

While some families in Market 3 own toilets, several others don’t.

They depend on a communal bathroom, which charges P5 per use. Not everyone, however, can afford the fee.

The communal toilet serves around 900 Filipinos living in Market 3. Can you imagine how it looks?

Saving children from death and diarrhea

Giving children a healthy space

As more children are forced to make do with dirty water, they miss more and more classes as they are just too weak or sick to go to school.

Save the Children believes that proper nutrition is also linked to cleanliness, and thanks to your support we will be conducting trainings as part of a solid waste management program, which we will push for the Fish Port Authority and the barangay to carry out.

By eliminating trash and flood in the area, we’re saving children from falling ill, allowing them to grow up healthy and strong.

Diarrhea is preventable and curable, yet many children in Market 3 still fall victim to this disease. We can change this by cleaning up their environment.

Together, we can ensure that no child will be left hungry, no child will be walking in filth, and that no child will die of diarrhea again.

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