HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM – May 17, 2014. More than one thousand children, teachers, and health officials joined on Saturday to mark the beginning of a major campaign against Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) in southern Vietnam.
Recently Vietnam has suffered outbreaks of HFMD with more than half the cases caused by Enterovirus 71 or EV-71 (1). From January to May 2014, there were 18,659 cases positively identified as EV-71, with 2 deaths reported. In order to raise awareness of the emergency and to promote handwashing with soap (HWWS), the Vietnam Ministry of Health (MoH) co-hosted with WaterSHED and Unilever Foundation an event at a primary school in Ho Chi Minh City. This event marked the kickoff of a national campaign from May to December 2014.
At the event, Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim Tien, Minister of Health, discussed a range of communicable diseases whose transmission relies on bad hygiene. The Minister encouraged students, teachers, and the community at large to practice HWWS consistently in order to prevent the spread of the diseases. After a demonstration by Ms. Tien of proper handwashing using the HappyTap device, hundreds of children lined up to try the novel device. With 200 devices, a crowd of over 1 thousand people were able to wash their hands conveniently. Many children had fun with the six spray nozzles and friendly branding of the HappyTap.
Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease is a viral illness that usually affects infants and children younger than 5 years old with symptoms including fever, mouth sores, and skin rash. Handwashing is one of the most effective barriers to prevent transmission because it is spread by saliva and mucus, blister fluid, and faeces. For more information about the disease, please refer to the Center for Disease Control.
WaterSHED has the objective to bring effective, affordable water and sanitation products to market in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Providing affordable and desirable water and sanitation products increases adoption and proper use rates among the poor. Using proven, market-based principles, WaterSHED leverages the power of private enterprise to bring water, health and prosperity to the people of Southeast Asia.
The HappyTap (Tien Loi in Vietnamese) is the world’s first purpose-built, mass-produced handwashing station. It was developed through a rigorous design and iterative testing phase with generous support from USAID, and it reflects the right mix of aesthetic appeal, functionality, durability, and affordability. It is commercially marketed by the private sector and in partnership with the Vietnam Women’s Union across 15 provinces in the lower Mekong region of Vietnam.
Reference: (1) http://hn.24h.com.vn/suc-khoe-doi-song/benh-tcm-tang-10-lan-so-voi-nam-truoc-c62a457363.html