Keep it clean and give those hands a health-sav­ing scrub

Cape Times - - OPINION -

SAN­I­TA­TION is one of the ba­sic ne­ces­si­ties which con­trib­ute to hu­man dig­nity and qual­ity of life. It’s an es­sen­tial pre-req­ui­site for suc­cess in the fight against poverty, hunger, child deaths, gen­der in­equal­ity and em­pow­er­ment.

As the world will be cel­e­brat­ing an­nual Global Hand­wash­ing Day on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 15, let’s re­mem­ber that by wash­ing hands we not only prac­tise good hy­giene stan­dards but we’re also elim­i­nat­ing the spread of wa­ter-borne dis­eases that can cause di­ar­rhoea and other dis­eases 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 tremen­dously.

In ad­di­tion, this cam­paign 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 hand-wash­ing pro­gram­ming frame­work.

Rais­ing aware­ness of hand-wash­ing 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 the gov­ern­ment to pro­vide free vac­cines).

Sup­port­ing in­ter-sec­toral ap­proaches.

Sup­port­ing com­mu­nity man­age­ment through ef­fec­tive de­cen­tral­i­sa­tion.

Fo­cus­ing on san­i­ta­tion, wa­ter qual­ity and hy­giene at the house­hold level. Di­ar­rhoea, cholera, ty­phoid fever and tra­choma are some of the dis­eases caused by bad hy­giene prac­tices. We can all fight these dis­eases by fol­low­ing six sim­ple steps when wash­ing our hands: Wet hands and ap­ply soap well then rub hands to­gether. Rub the back of both hands. In­ter­lace fin­gers and rub hands to­gether. In­ter­lock fin­gers and rub the back of fin­gers of both hands.

Rub thumb in a ro­tat­ing man­ner fol­lowed by the area be­tween the in­dex fin­gers and thumb for both hands.

Rub fin­ger­tips on palm of both hands. Dry hands thor­oughly with a clean towel or pa­per towel.

While wash­ing our hands with run­ning wa­ter and soap, we also need to be aware of our wa­ter sit­u­a­tion. Once again, this en­cour­ages us to do more with less.

Phetho Ntaba

Depart­ment of Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tion, West­ern Cape Provin­cial of­fice

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