DOH chief leads campaign on safe water at evacuation center PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 24 October 2013 11:26

To raise awareness on the importance of safe water and to teach the ways to keep a safe water chain, from collection, storage and drinking, DOH Secretary Enrique Ona himself launched the project to promote health security for about 26,000 internally displaced people (IDP) at the Joaquin Enriquez Sports Complex Evacuation Center (JSEC).

Called the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Strategy, spearheaded by the Hygiene Promotion Technical Working Group (HP TWG), it is conducted by the Department of Health-Center for Health Development Zamboanga Peninsula (DOH-CHDZP), having identified that improper practices and storage of drinking water in JSEC has proven to be a public health problem commanding grave concern.

The activity was partly enlivened by the participation of the Zamboanga City Health Office (ZCHO), Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), Western Mindanao State University (WMSU), Catholic Relief Services (CRS), International Organization for Migration (IOM), Accion Contra La Famine (ACF) and Oxford Family (OXFAM).

October 22, 2013 marked the start of the Safe Water Campaign with the DOH-CHDZP pool of talents spearheaded by Allan Tahamid who did starring roles for a stage play entitled “Best friend mo ba si Jerry?”  Jerry refers to the “jerry can” or water container that is used by the IDPs in collecting water at the water bladders provided for them inside JSEC. The play focused on the prevention of diseases by blocking the chances of contamination along the safe water chain to include hand washing, cleaning of water container, safe water collection, safe transport of water and safe water storage.

The instant actors were DOH staff Allan Tahamid as Jerry Can and the tear jerkers were child evacuees themselves Faisal Adjaluddin, as Engoy and Basheena Vicente, as Aniza, with adult supporting cast Marhaban Mali, Maimuna Sali and Al-kautar Arola, who impressed the audience who were surprised by their superb instant performance.

Through the acting out of the theme of the health campaign the DOH-CHDZP hopes to have improved the knowledge and practices on proper and sanitary techniques in the storage and handling of drinking water by evacuees in their temporary center in the sports complex.

After the stage play, fun games followed. The event culminated with the Jingle Contest participated by IDPs who were randomly selected from JSEC Zones A, B, C and D.  There were five (5) groups composed of mothers with eight (8) members each. The judges were Ms. Bienvenida Astillero and Ms. Miriam Kanti of DOH-CHDZP and WMSU respectively. Secretary Ona together with Dr. Nimfa B. Torrizo, OIC-Regional Director of DOH-CHDZP, witnessed the announcement of the winners and when the winning group performed their winning jingle.

To seal the IDPs commitment to the Safe Water Campaign so that the spread of water borne diseases is prevented, a pledge of commitment was done. The winning group recorded the official “Jerry Can Jingle” at Jammtraxx Recording Studio. This will be played using the JSEC sound system around the same time as water bladder is being refilled.

Today October 24, 2013 is “Jerry Can Cleaning Day”. Everyone at JSEC is enjoined to clean their water containers set at 8:00am.  The Campaign Program Committee is composed of Dr. Joshua Brillantes, Marivic Arquiza, Bienvenida Astillero, Virginia Galaretta, Flora Wong, Kengchay Lao, Evelyn Masdal, Rodrigo Villa, Mark Kenneth Recustodio and Allan Tahamid with technical support from OXFAM and CRS. — Kench S. Lao, RPh, RN