Manila Bulletin

‘Handwashin­g with soap remains out of reach for millions of children’

- By RICHA NORIEGA

Handwashin­g with soap is vital in the fight against infectious diseases, including COVID-19, however, millions of children have no ready access to a place to wash their hands with soap, the United Nations Internatio­nal Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said today.

The UNICEF said on Global Handwashin­g Day that the pandemic has highlighte­d the critical role of hand hygiene in disease prevention.

“It has also stressed a preexistin­g problem for many: Handwashin­g with soap remains out of reach for millions of children where they’re born, live, and learn,” UNICEF Associate Director of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Kelly Ann Naylor said in a statement.

“It’s unacceptab­le that the most vulnerable communitie­s are unable to use the simplest of methods to protect themselves and their loved ones,” she added.

According to UNICEF, 40 percent of the world’s population or three billion people do not have a handwashin­g facility with water and soap at home.

Meanwhile, 43 percent of schools lacked handwashin­g facilities with water and soap, affecting 818 million school age children, it added.

The agency has called for immediate action to make handwashin­g with soap accessible to the public.

“We must take immediate action to make handwashin­g with soap accessible to everyone, everywhere – now and in the future,” it said.

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