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You’ve probably heard about humanitarian kits before. They contain emergency supplies, and charitable organizations typically send them to areas that are going through disaster relief or some other type of crisis. These often include hygiene items, as well.
You might wonder why it’s necessary to put hygiene items in these kits. After all, aren’t food and water more important? The truth is that these things might be more critical, but hygiene is pretty important too. Not being able to keep themselves clean can really interfere with people’s quality of life. And it can exacerbate an outbreak of contagious disease under already trying conditions.
It’s always a good idea to include hygiene items when sending out a humanitarian kit. You may take your hygiene supplies for granted, but think about what life would be like without them. Now, you can be in a place to somewhat appreciate how much these people need these supplies.
What Is A Humanitarian Kit?
You might be wondering what exactly a humanitarian kit is. It’s a kit that consists of essential supplies to help people who are in need. Typically, charity organizations send these out to people after natural disasters or during major conflicts in their areas.
These kits can come in different sorts of containers. Sometimes they come in backpacks, sometimes buckets, and sometimes boxes. Typically, people pass them out at specific locations, such as refugee camps in war zones.
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They can contain anything that people would need to survive during these times and would have a hard time getting. This can include food, beverages, simple clothing items, medicines, medical supplies, and hygiene items.
The specific content of a humanitarian kit depends on what the perceived needs are of the people in the area. It’s not always the same set of supplies. If there’s a flu epidemic going on, medicines and flu shots may be in order. On the other hand, if it’s a natural disaster, people are more likely to need food and essential hygiene items.
How Can A Humanitarian Kit Make A Difference?
If you’ve never been in a war zone or an area that’s just experienced a natural disaster, you may not understand just how vital humanitarian kits are.
A lot of the time, these people don’t have the option of simply going to a store and buying necessary items like the majority of people do in first-world countries, so humanitarian kits can literally be lifesavers.
Why They Matter
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In some cases, people have to flee their homes in natural disasters or situations of political conflict. In these situations, it’s really difficult to carry everything you need when you have to leave on such short notice. Even making sure you have the basics can be a challenge.
It really helps these people to have essential items that they need in order to start rebuilding their lives. These kits are an efficient and simple way to deliver these goods to communities in a form that is easy to transport. Not only does it help meet emergent needs, but it also helps these people and communities preserve their dignity.
Humanitarian kits are packages that are put together to meet people’s immediate needs. In modern times, over 75 percent of the people who are affected by humanitarian crises in the world are women and children. This is why humanitarian kits often contain supplies for girls and women.
These kits often include hygiene items for women, such as sanitary supplies that they can use during menstruation. Clean undergarments are often a part of these kits as well. The kits also include hygiene items that everyone can use, such as soap and shampoo.
In some situations, humanitarian kits include delivery supplies for pregnant women. These include photo-based instructions for how to safely deliver a baby, a bar of soap, a razor blade that you can use to cut an umbilical cord, a string that you can use to tie it, plastic gloves, and sheets. Some “kits” go as far as providing mobile maternity wards as delivery units for pregnant women.
As you can see, there aren’t very many limits for what people or organizations can include in a humanitarian kit. Hygiene items are actually a pretty important part of them in many cases.
Hygiene Items In Humanitarian Hits
The concept of hygiene is essential not only to keep people clean, but also to keep them healthy and safe in many situations. This is particularly true when there are pre-existing medical conditions involved, such as pregnancy.
When people are dealing with crisis situations, they don’t necessarily have the resources to manage this on their own. This is why it helps when humanitarians come along and provide hygiene items for them.
8 Useful Hygiene Items To Include In A Humanitarian Kit
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The ability to maintain good hygiene is critical to a person’s health. Not to mention, hygiene items are just very important for a person’s overall quality of life. Delivering hygiene items to people can be very important in maintaining their health and happiness in times of disaster and crisis.
Many hygiene items are important. Different people have different needs, as well. The following are just some of the essential hygiene items that organizations tend to include in humanitarian kits.
1. Soap and shampoo
Soap is definitely among the necessary hygiene items. You need it just to be able to take a shower, wash your face, and wash your hands. Not washing your hands before eating could leave you exposed to all sorts of pathogens that can make you sick.
Generally, in a humanitarian kit, an organization or person is going to want to include a bar of soap. Bottled liquid soaps may be nice in your home, but in a humanitarian kit, they aren’t the most practical choice. They can sometimes open and end up spilling all over everything else, rendering the other items unusable.
Of course, people need to keep their hair clean as well. Soap and shampoo are formulated in different ways, and shampoo also makes much more sense as a liquid. Collections of hygiene items in humanitarian kits should also include small bottles of shampoo.
2. Feminine hygiene products
As we already mentioned, a large proportion of the people who need humanitarian kits are girls and women. It follows, then, that feminine hygiene product are some of the hygiene items that people need.
Sanitary napkins, pads, and tampons are some excellent things to include. Also, as far as pads and tampons go, a woman who’s using them is likely going to need more than one at a time. This is why it would be a good idea to include several of these.
3. Small water buckets
Water buckets are important because everyone needs water. They need it for drinking, cooking, washing, and other purposes. Not everyone has the option of turning on a faucet or just going to the store and buying bottled water. Some need to get it from a pond or river, and buckets help immensely in those cases.
When it comes to hygiene, it’s not only important to keep yourself clean. People need to clean their clothes and cookware as well. Water buckets help make this possible.
4. Water spigots
Water spigots are helpful in these kits as well. You can use them to turn the included buckets into Veronica buckets, which are buckets with taps near the bottom for water to come out. The water runs off into a basin; this makes it easier to wash your hands, which is very important for hygiene purposes, particularly in disease prevention.
Aquatabs are water purification tablets. These tablets make it possible for people and families to purify their own water. This is important because the water that they obtain could be dirty and full of dangerous pathogens. It’s vital that these people have clean water to drink, use in their cooking, wash their clothes with, and bathe in.
6. Toothbrushes and toothpaste
Of course, oral health is import. In fact, research has shown that there’s a significant connection between the health of your mouth and heart health. No humanitarian kit that includes hygiene items would be complete, then, without toothbrushes and toothpaste.
How many toothbrushes need to be included depends on the type of kit. If it’s an individual kit, the kit needs only one toothbrush. However, if it’s a kit meant for an entire family, three or four toothbrushes might be more appropriate along with the appropriate amount of toothpaste for all the people who are going to be using the kit.
7. Towels and washcloths
Often, people need washcloths to be able to scrub their faces or other parts of their bodies clean. Towels are also important. Particularly in cold weather, it’s important to dry yourself off right after a shower just to avoid getting sick.
These may not be considered hygiene items per se, but they’re definitely used during many people’s routines that center around hygiene. These are a great item to include in humanitarian kits for this reason.
8. Nail clippers
This is another item that might not be considered a hygiene item per se. The act of clipping your nails, after all, doesn’t involve cleaning them, at least not in a way that involves nail clippers. However, keeping nails short and neat could be seen as a significant part of hygiene for many people.
When nails grow long and unkempt, they’re more susceptible to bacterial growth and nail fungi. It’s actually a good idea to keep them short, just so you’ll be able to clean under them. You can clean under your nails, as far as you can reach, with just a little bit of soapy water and a small brush or cloth.
Cleaning Up Our Act
A lot of people take hygiene items for granted in everyday life. However, if you had to live without them, you’d see just how important they are. People who have to flee their homes or who no longer have homes, end up in situations where they have to live without these items.
This is why humanitarian kits are so indispensable in these situations. Basic items that people need are delivered right to them when they can’t get them themselves. This may not remove the peril of their circumstances, but it certainly makes their lives easier in a significant way.
Hygiene items may not be bare necessities in the same way that food and water are, but they can definitely be an important part of humanitarian kits. Including them in these kits can be helpful to people who don’t otherwise have access to them. That bar of soap may seem like nothing to you, but after thinking about it this way, you’ll probably never look at it the same way again!
What do you have to say about everything you’ve just learned about hygiene items in humanitarian kits? What hygiene products would you want if you were suddenly forced to leave your home during a natural disaster? Let us know in the comments section!