Hygiene promotion for children in Venezuela

A programme recently implemented in Venezuela is raising awareness about the importance of good hygiene to help protect children from diseases.

The MENTOR Initiative is working with educational partners in seven states to establish good hygiene habits in children. This is done through promoting messages about hand washing, safe water consumption and clean environments. Thanks to the work of volunteers, the schools perform regular cleaning of common areas in the school and surrounding environment. 

Since its launch at the end of 2022, the programme has reached 80 schools, and trained 431 teachers and 225 students in hygiene promotion.

The situation in Venezuela

Venezuela is experiencing a series of public health-related issues because of the economic and social crisis here. Food shortages, a lack of services and security concerns have led to more than 7 million people leaving the country since 2015. The population that has remained is the most vulnerable – often the very young and old – with limited access to basic services.

One of the diseases that thrives in an environment with poor sanitary conditions is dengue fever, which in endemic to most of the country. Dengue, a viral infection transmitted through the bite of infected Aedes mosquito, can cause a flu-like illness or in more serious cases is lethal. Poor waste removal, piles of rubbish and water stored in open containers provide the perfect breeding sites, increasing the number of mosquitoes and the risk of being bitten and infected. 

Since October 2021, MENTOR has been delivering a Dengue Control Programme through a network of health facilities, training health professionals to deliver case management and hygiene promotion to protect people from disease and improve health. 

Other programme activities include:

  • improvements to water and sanitation to provide access to safe water.
  • home visits to deliver messages about dengue, hygiene promotion and vector control (keeping the household free from mosquitoes).
  • distribution of water tanks and taps for water containers.