October 2016

Dengue Fever: the Importance of Prevention

With the Rain Season approaching the Philippines, it is of fundamental importance the awareness regarding Dengue Fever prevention. This perilous disease can be transmitted by a particular kind of mosquitos, species Aedes, very diffused in tropical areas of the world.

In the Philippines the problem is hugely spread: only in 2015, more than 200.000 cases have been registered throughout the Archipelago. Dengue is extremely dangerous and in worst cases can give raise to internal bleedings and eventually, also death in affected subjects; unfortunately, it hits manly children.

From April 2016, Philippines are the first country in the world to provide a vaccine to the private market and to start an immunization campaign against Dengue.

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The vaccine implementation process is been monitored also by the World Health Organization even if formally, it still did not expressed any public recommendation on the use of the particular drug providing immunization.

Notwithstanding the vaccine to bring common side effects as fever, headache and muscular pain, studies demonstrate that its use bring a reduction of 65.6% of Dengue symptoms, 93.2% of worst cases occurrence and 80.8% the need for hospitalization.

This shows the great innovation that the vaccine introduction could bring on Philippines citizens health and especially to children. In fact, Philippines ministry of Health has recently declared that 1 million children will need to benefit from the vaccine.

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The municipality of San Fernando – La Union is in these days, implementing a prevention campaign against the spreading of Dengue aimed to the elimination of natural habitat of Aedes mosquitos through spraying of disinfectant in affected areas.

This action is among others belonging to an ample project of Health promotion to which Kito Onlus is been a partner for years now. This, together with other programs, like bad nutrition tackling and births monitoring, aim to ameliorate local population welfare in the region.

Typhoon Lawin hits Philippines

In last days, the Northern part of the Philippines Archipelago has been hit by a new natural catastrophe. The Typhoon known in the world as Haima and called Lawin in the Philippines, formed in the Pacific Ocean a week ago and then directed his strength towards China, finding in its way Luzon, the main Island of the country.devast3

Devastation caused by the Typhoon in the region of Cagayan.

pic-mapThe Typhoon concentrated itself on the Northeast part of the island, involving more of all the regions of Cagayan and Isabela, putting under alarm the whole Luzon Island.

For the whole day and night of Wednesday 19th, Lawin tried the preparedness and resistance of the local population, landing first on the town of Peñablanca and then finding its way to the North.

Areas exposed to Lawin Typhoon according to Weather Bureau

pic-kitAuthorities has been alarming the local population for a long period now and they had time to prepare different measures of relief: closure of Schools, suspension of public transports and of all of the flights departing from Luzon.

Furthermore, they individuated public structures in order to welcome people living in hazard prone areas, put at work several emergency lines and groups of civil protections plus numerous volunteers.

The surviving Kit suggested by authorities of Government in San Fernando La Union.

Also in La Union region, where our Kito Health Unit operates, the Typhoon caused quite some hardships as the suspension of the electric energy providing, of course putting the center in the impossibility to provide services in last days. We are right now in contact with our local partners to better understand the problems caused by the disaster and to assist to the restart of all activities.

Even if for now there are no ascertained direct victims caused by the Typhoon, the damages checking is quite impressing. In the Cagayan region a lot of landslides and floods occurred, hitting major inhabited centers. Furthermore, a lot of houses and buildings have seen their roofs flying away because of the strong wind, together with massive spread destruction.

According to PAGASA Weather Bureau, the Typhoon has left Luzon Island Thursday at 5.00 PM, local time, allowing authorities to start working for the normalization of the situation.

Notwithstanding the fact that Lawin is considered the second strongest Typhoon occurred in the whole 2016, Philippines public authorities seem to have succeeded in limiting risks of the disaster towards the population.

Same thing is hard to say with regard to constructions and infrastructures, but is clear that when confronting these natural catastrophes, of this dimension, even the more developed regions of the Philippines Archipelago struggles to manage the level of destruction.

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1 Month in the Philippines!

It is already been a month since our Project Assistant Serena has landed for the first time on Philippines’ soil! In these four weeks, Serena engaged in different tasks to bring on and support previous actions by Kito Onlus on the island of San Francisco, Cebu province.

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Serena meeting San Francisco Vice Major Al Arquillano.


In particular, she followed the conclusion of the works regarding the construction of the Kito Health Centre, which will be further optimized in next weeks as to be ready for use, and furthermore, she assisted to the implementation of the Open Hospital software, in cooperation with IT without borders that will allow us to have a continuous monitoring of the service provided by the Health Center.

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The team in action on the Kito Health Center!

 

Serena has then followed the activities of the local community connected to formation in the fields of Environmental Sustainability and Population Welfare.

 

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Recently, she was also at a local High School to participate in the events organized in the occasion of the International day for Environmental Disasters Risk Reduction.

 

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New commitments await us in the next period, as the Health Center will be equipped and put in function, together with many more activities, follow us to learn more!

13 October: International Day for Disaster Reduction

“Did you know that in the last 20 years, 1.3 million people died because of natural disasters?”

Typhoons, floods, droughts, from the Earthquake in Amatrice to Hurricane Matthew in Haiti, in the whole world today, 13 of October, we remember how important it is to tackle the issue of risks reduction caused by environmental catastrophes; just in 2014, 19.4 million people in the world have been displaced by this kind of emergencies.

The International Day for disasters reduction has been instituted for the first time in 1990, in occasion of the first UN Decade on Environmental Disasters reduction. In 2016, this recurrence reminds us of the recent implementation of Sendai Framework, international agreement lasting fifteen years (2015 – 2030) recognizing States and private sector responsibilities in Risk prevention: the final aim of the Framework is:

The substantial reduction of disaster risk and losses in lives, livelihoods and health and in the economic, physical, social, cultural and environmental assets of persons, businesses, communities and countries”.

Preparedness is the key element: ad hoc Alarm systems, buildings based on the concept of Resistance to environmental events typical of territorial risks and Resilience of hit territories and populations. Those are the fields in which the struggles of States and International Organizations have to concentrate on, giving more and more importance to a response based on local communities’ capacities and on the challenges that climate change forces us to tackle.

Kito Onlus work in the Philippines has always been built on these kind of needs, trying to offer help and relief in a sustainable, safe and lasting way, especially because set in a context heavily subjected to natural catastrophes and consequent humanitarian crises.

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Humanitarian Standards: Kito Onlus and the Sphere Project

picIn performing its activities, Kito Onlus engages itself into being transparent and accountable for its actions, maintaining and applying Humanitarian standards recognized internationally in practice and among scholars. For this reason, our organization recognizes as a milestone the ‘Sphere Project’.

Sphere describes and collects universal standards of assistance to population hit by Humanitarian crisis, putting them in practice through guidelines and key-actions, in order to ameliorate the quality of the response that NGOs give to Humanitarian disasters and to set a link of accountability to their actions. Instructions filed into the manual are object of discussion as they can turn to be hardly applicable, but general standards presented are without doubts a landmark for operating through good practices in the humanitarian field.

We will report here the standards, described in the Sphere Project book, relevant to the action of Kito Onlus and in particular regarding promotion of Hygiene and Structures building.

HYGIENE

We will consider here the Hygiene promotion standards 1 and 2 as described by the Sphere Project:

  1. “Affected men, women and children of all ages are aware of key public health risks and are mobilised to adopt measures to prevent the deterioration in hygienic conditions and to use and maintain the facilities provided”.
  2. “The disaster-affected population has access to and is involved in identifying and promoting the use of hygiene items to ensure personal hygiene, health, dignity and well-being”.

Primarily, Sphere highlights the importance of putting people in the condition to comprehend risks and responsibilities regarding their own health. Interactive methods are generally incentive because they give to beneficiaries the opportunity to monitor their progresses, to give advice or present misunderstandings overall promoting the communication between local population and humanitarian actors. The book describes then the importance of Fundamental Health Kit and of a shared definition of what ‘fundamental’ means for the local population.

The Hygiene promotion action brought by Kito Onlus sticks with the application of these standards: between 2014 and 2016, Kito Onlus it is been organizing different trainings on Health, Hygiene and Prevention, in San Fernando La Union and in the Camotes Islands, during which, through teaching materials and practical activities, issues regarding infections spreading and the many ways to improve beneficiaries lives have been tackled. Furthermore, Kito distributed Hygiene kits, indispensable to provide minimum hygiene conditions in situations of environmental disasters and local medical personnel has been actively involved throughout the formation courses.

  

Constructions

Another important part of Kito’s action is devoted to building structures to serve the local population in the Philippines. In this sense, the guidelines Shelter and Settlement standards 4 e 5 are the relevant ones.

  1. Local safe building practices, materials, expertise and capacities are used where appropriate, maximising the involvement of the affected population and local livelihood opportunities.
  2. Shelter and settlement solutions and the material sourcing and construction techniques used minimize adverse impact on the local natural environment.

The book remarks the importance of participation of the beneficiaries to the activities relating to the building of structures, in particular through training and traineeship projects involving both men and women. Also, suggesting the use of local materials and labour forces is generally a more sustainable and empowering choice. Furthermore, buildings have to be resilient in front of climatic conditions and environmental risks, safe and respectful of sectoral standards, accessible especially if structures assigned for public services. In order to reach these goals, it is key to take into account risks and vulnerability of the territory considering also long period effects.

Kito Onlus has adopted these guidelines through the organization of trainings parallel to the construction of the Kito Health Centre in San Francisco and in the activities belonging to the Cash for Work project. In fact, the association has recognized the importance of providing local population with technical skills necessary in order to work in the building field, knowledge that must be linked to a particular attention to the specific condition of the territory. We also involved beneficiaries in the development of projects, offering them an opportunity to get through the shock caused by the disaster and providing them with a remuneration, employing them in job activities that had also the function of make beneficiaries internalize the project with a bottom-up approach. The Kito Health Centre built in the Camotes Islands exemplifies a model of use of local materials and sharp attention to sustainability.

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