Marikina Sports Center, known for hosting various local and international sports competitions, will soon serve as an emergency quarantine facility for the residents in the City.
In partnership with P&G, Safeguard Philippines and Department of Health, two handwashing facilities were turned over to the Marikina City Government on October 29, to help ensure the safety of the frontliners, staff and patients who will use the quarantine facilities in the sports center.
To encourage the habit of handwashing, Dr. Beverly Ho of the Department of Health emphasized that access to water and hygiene is highly-essential. “We know that one of the biggest contributors to sicknesses that we might be able to get would be lack of access to water and poor hygiene,” she said. “Part of the ‘BIDA Solusyon’ behavior that we’re pushing for is ‘I’ or ‘I-sanitize ang mga kamay, iwas hawak sa mga bagay.’ To make that happen, we need to have available or accessible handwashing facilities,” she added.
Addressing the newly installed handwashing facilities at Marikina Sports Center, Dr. Ho shared, “We’re very excited because we are going to have really good quality handwashing facilities installed in this area.”
Mayor Marcy Teodoro of Marikina City mentioned that its design shows how well it was planned and conceptualized. “It is very functional, hygienic to use, and [avoids contact]. Even the design—the nudges that we have here, it has an effect [on] users to wash hands for a longer period of time. Salamat sa pinag-isipan at pinagplanuhang handwashing facilities dito (Thank you for the well-thought-of and well-planned handwashing facilities here),” he said.
The project is under Manila Water Foundation’s WASH in Pandemic program, which aims to deliver immediate water access, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) interventions in the “new normal”. This partnership is an integrated approach, to combine efforts with Safeguard’s Safe Philippines campaign, which aims to encourage Filipinos to adopt proper hand hygiene habits wherever they go.
Like the other hand hygiene facilities built under the WASH in Pandemic program, the handwashing facilities feature a “hybrid” design. This allows users to turn on the faucets of the facilities in two ways: either via a lever that can be used by a hand or an elbow, or by using a foot pedal. There is also a one-meter distance between faucets to observe physical distancing. Children and persons with disabilities (PWDs) may be able to access the facility through a ramp and a lowered sink. Each facility is built with three faucets with soap containers and are installed with signages about COVID-19 precautionary measures, proper handwashing, and the responsible use of water.
Dr. Angelito Llabres, Head of Marikina Sports Center also mentioned that the handwashing facilities can be used even beyond the pandemic. “Napakaraming makikinabang nito dahil ang [sports center] ng Marikina ay binibisita ng napakaraming tao. Ang average client namin dito is around five to six thousand a day. Kailangan talaga nila ang [handwashing] facility (A lot will be benefitting from this because the Marikina Sports Center is visited by several people. Our average [number of visitors] is around five to six thousand a day. They really need a handwashing facility),” he added.
At the onset of the pandemic, Marikina City was one of the hardest hit areas of the respiratory disease. At the time, MWF also turned over 400 hygiene packages and information-educational materials on proper handwashing, to help support the immediate needs of the residents.