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Volunteers design easy-to-build, portable handwashing stations

By Angela Casco

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By now, it’s common knowledge that respiratory viruses like Covid-19 can spread through the hands, as the World Health Organization (WHO) explained early on when the pandemic was declared. The virus can live for a few hours on anything, including surfaces, clothing, and another person’s hand.

Like most diseases, prevention is better—and cheaper—than cure and one of the many affordable ways of preventing mucus or droplets containing the virus from entering the body is handwashing.

Health experts advise handwashing for about 20 to 30 seconds (or equivalent to singing “Happy Birthday” twice), using any ordinary soap. This practice is even better than sanitizing with isopropyl alcohol, which many have (amusingly) hoarded right when the pandemic started.

Three months into this pandemic, handwashing, much like physical distancing and wearing of face masks, is now key to a safer new normal. Government authorities and private companies have come up with solutions to make handwashing more accessible for communities, especially in economically-challenged areas.

Enter SaniWash, an easy-to-build handwashing station from the same volunteer team that created SaniTents.

“It is easy to build, easy to use, and easy to transport,” the team says. Using only easily available materials, such as PVC pipes in different sizes, basins, and water dispenser bottles, the result is a simple structure that only requires a small space but can serve a community with a large population.

Wash your hands. No excuses.

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Posted by SaniTents PH on Wednesday, May 13, 2020

The station’s rechargeable water pump allows it to be foot-operated, too, so “no hand contact will be made” with whoever is using the station.

The structure’s design comes after the Department of Health (DOH) raised concerns about the use of spraying as a means of disinfection, prompting the team to shift its efforts from creating sanitation tents to developing handwashing stations.

“Given that we must act now, we are advising our partners to take heed of DOH’s call and focus on providing equipment and innovation for our frontliners in the medical field,” the team says.

The team, however, remains firm in its belief that sanitation tents work in many settings and are necessary to mitigate the spread of the virus. They are continuously working with the DOH and other concerned government agencies regarding the tents’ “safe and ecologically sound use, especially in hospital settings.”

“Our innovation does not stop here. We will try to innovate and tread through this crisis,” the team adds. “The Filipino people will be in control of Covid-19—not the other way around.”

For now, handwashing stations, which make use of the same materials originally intended for the tents, will do. The manual, as the team intends, is available to the public for free. “If we can’t spray you down, we’ll make sure you wash your hands!”


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://lifestyle.mb.com.ph/2020/06/03/volunteers-design-easy-to-build-portable-handwashing-stations/)

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