Clean Hands Save Lives


The incidence of diarrhea can be radically reduced by hand washing.

Four-year-old Dang Lyn stands patiently as his mother, Sophors, cleans the Cambodian boy’s hands. In former times, he suffered regularly from diarrhea and stomachaches. Sophors spent much of her income on medical bills.

Things changed when World Vision began a comprehensive hygiene and sanitation program in Dang’s village—a critical component of its child sponsorship programs.

Villagers had little idea of how dirty hands and unsanitary conditions could cause illness before the training helped their community.

Now they have come to appreciate the clean, fresh look of their village and their clean kids.

“I see most of the villagers love cleanliness like I do because we think about children’s health,” Sophors says.

Every 60 seconds, somewhere in the world, a child dies from diarrhea, but the incidence of diarrhea can be radically reduced by hand washing.

Ingraining the habit of hand washing could save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention.

Photo credit Vichheka Sok/World Vision 2012

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