Cross-posted from World Reader’s blog, The Literacy Ledger. Written by Selena Garrahan.
Millions of people die every year of the most preventable diseases and common illnesses. This horrible reality is due to the lack of basic medical information available worldwide. In many parts of the world, health resources are only as good as the outdated books and government flyers that circulate through the community and more likely it’s through word of mouth that people are gathering medical information.
Hesperian is a nonprofit that has been putting easy-to-understand health manuals into the hands of people worldwide. In 2013 we joined forces with Hesperian to send their most widely-used health care manual, Where There is No Doctor to our schools and libraries in sub-Saharan Africa.
It was a success.
In an effort to empower more people in Africa with health information, we’ve added two more Hesperian manuals, Sanitation and Cleanliness for Healthy Environment and Pesticides are Poison to Worldreader Mobile, our mobile reading application being used by more than 13 million readers in 47 countries.
Sanitation and Cleanliness for a Healthy Environment covers practical topics such as: health problems caused by poor sanitation and disposal of human waste, hand-washing, keeping clean, and safe food preparation as well as instructions for building and improving latrines. This information will empower local communities with the knowledge they need to prevent sanitary and water related diseases– one of the largest causes of death each year. The second title, Pesticides are Poison, similarly offers life-saving information by helping farmers, health workers, educators, and families take charge of their environmental health and protect themselves and their communities from the effects of pesticides. Among many things, Pesticides are Poison teaches readers how to read pesticide labels, the signs of pesticide illnesses, treatment for poisoning, and steps to reducing pesticide use.
You’ll often hear us say “books save lives” but nothing comes closer to the truth than Hesperian’s health guides. We are grateful to work with Hesperian and are impressed with the work they do, like their mobile app for Safe Pregnancy and Birth which has been downloaded more than 60,000 times and is the winner of the Ashoka Changemakers/Intel “She Will Innovate” award.
Thank you Hesperian! We look forward to our continued collaboration to improve people’s lives through health education. Furthermore, we are thankful for the funding support from Vodafone Americas Foundation – this project would not have been possible without their support.
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