Wash hands, zap disease
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.