By Sikasifa Memon (YES 2015-2016, Pakistan, hosted by AFS in Lockhart, TX)
The Health and Hygiene Awareness Project took place on January 19, 2018 in Umerkot, Pakistan. The widespread unsanitary conditions in her city of Umerkot, Pakistan motivated Sikasifa to create this project. She wanted to bring more awareness to the people of Umerkot regarding any practices of poor hygiene, and the harmful affects it has on a person's health. She says living in the United States contributed greatly to her inspiration for carrying out this project. After living in the U.S. and seeing the amount of effort that American people put into their everyday hygienic routine, and the types of campaigns that Americans have in place to encourage good hygiene, she felt determined to share the same knowledge with the people of Umerkot. Sikasifa believes that good hygiene and proper sanitary conditions can improve the development and prosperity of a community.
Her project was fully funded and was supervised by three certified doctors. Sikasifa trained 21 female health workers on how to improve their hygiene processes and overall health care. These female health care workers could take the information they learned and bring them to the rural areas of Umerkot. Sikasifa educated the health workers on preventative measures such as washing hands before and after meals, showering daily, and keeping warm during winters to ward off the cold. The health care workers really enjoyed this event and were optimistic about the role they play in improving the hygiene practices of people in Umerkot. They requested that similar events be held in the future that they could attend.
As previously mentioned, Sikasifa wanted this project to serve as a foundation that would expose the communities to develop better hygiene processes in Pakistan. The project created a positive attitude towards sanitation and discussed the meaning of good hygiene. The project focused on simple measures that could be used by most people to create a chain of hygienic and sanitary conditions that would improve overall health and sanitary conditions in Umerkot. Finally, the project emphasized the importance of the saying “Prevention is Better Than Cure.”