Wash hands, zap dis­ease

Cape Argus - - Opinion -

SUN­DAY, Oc­to­ber 15, is Global Hand­wash­ing day, a call to pro­mote good health and hy­giene.

San­i­ta­tion is one of the ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties that con­trib­utes to hu­man dig­nity and qual­ity of life. It is an es­sen­tial pre­req­ui­site for suc­cess in the fight against poverty, hunger, child deaths, gen­der in­equal­ity and em­pow­er­ment.

As the world cel­e­brates Global Hand­wash­ing Day, let us re­mem­ber that by wash­ing hands, we do not only prac­tise good hy­giene stan­dards but also elim­i­nate the spread of wa­ter-borne dis­eases that can cause di­ar­rhoea and other ill­nesses, while pro­tect­ing those we come into con­tact with.

This is a global call to help pro­tect and im­prove the health of chil­dren in par­tic­u­lar. Once this has been achieved, in turn, school at­ten­dance and aca­demic per­for­mance can im­prove greatly.

This cam­paign also seeks to mo­ti­vate and mo­bilise mil­lions around the world to wash their hands with soap to re­duce child­hood mor­tal­ity rates re­lated to res­pi­ra­tory and di­ar­rhoeal dis­eases. This can be achieved through:

● Pro­mot­ing a bal­anced na­tional hand­wash­ing pro­gram­ming frame­work;

● Rais­ing aware­ness of hand­wash­ing with soap as the most ef­fec­tive and in­ex­pen­sive way to re­duce the spread of dis­ease;

● Re­duc­ing gov­ern­ment ex­pen­di­ture on health (when less peo­ple con­tract com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases, less money will be used by gov­ern­ment to pro­vide free vac­cines);

● Sup­port­ing in­ter-sec­toral ap­proaches;

● Sup­port­ing com­mu­nity man­age­ment through ef­fec­tive de­cen­tral­i­sa­tion; and

● Fo­cus­ing on san­i­ta­tion, wa­ter qual­ity and hy­giene at the house­hold level.

Di­ar­rhoea, cholera, ty­phoid fever and tra­choma are dis­eases caused by bad hy­giene prac­tices and can be com­bated by wash­ing hands with run­ning wa­ter and soap, but we must be mind­ful of the wa­ter sit­u­a­tion and do more with less.

PHETHO NTABA Depart­ment of Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tion: West­ern Cape of­fice


CLEAN AND HEALTHY: Di­ar­rhoea kills more than two mil­lion chil­dren around the world every year. Wash­ing your hands with soap re­duces your risk of ill­ness.

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