Global Hand washing day
WASH Media Network joins the world over to mark this day
By Mustapha Sesay
Today is Global Hand Washing Day, a day set aside by the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday October 15, 2008 as the International Year of Sanitation, and Global Hand-washing Day, which stresses the need to reinforce call for improved hygiene practices.
In the light of the above, Water and Sanitation Media Network Sierra Leone, a member of the West Africa Water and Sanitation Journalists Network (a sub regional organization) , is joining the Water Integrity Network, Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborating Council, IRC and West Africa Water Aid to observe this day.
As schools are yet to re-open for the start of the 20142015 Academic year, WASH Media Network members will be out to some of the communities in Freetown and in the provincial areas to continue reaffirming the significance of holding fast to the correct methods of washing hands and the its vital place to the health of the children.
It must be noted that most of the diseases that affect children are related to the poor environment and bad sanitation practices in our homes or communities countrywide. One among the outstanding odd health practices is that doing with children not washing hands before partaking of any food. This has continued to offer place to cholera and dysentery among the common diseases in record. Added to this issue is the fact that most children including adults find it difficult to use water and soap after visiting the toilet.
The ramification of this bad health practice could not be unconnected to the 2012 Cholera outbreak in the country, which started in the Northern part of Sierra Leone and spread across its regions within two months. That period heightened the need to wash hands with soap as that was among the primary preventive methods since Cholera itself is water borne.
Shanty towns and slum communities were among the places that suffered the brunt of the 2012 Cholera outbreak.
Unfortunately, few months after the outbreak, people neglected the significance of washing hands with soap after taking part in any activity. This negligence went on until it was officially announced in May that Ebola had broken out in the country and that it expedient that people reverse to the traditional hand-washing method since the Ebola virus is a contagious disease.
While the number of those who believe in the reality of Ebola has increased considerably, however, there is still sparks of remote cases of those who deny its existence and refrain from following the laid down health rules.
Meanwhile, hand washing is paramount to a healthy society and it is on this note that October 15th has been set aside to reflect on responsiveness of hand washing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases.
With the outbreak of the Ebola virus in the Sub-region, school authorities in the region would use this opportunity to teach millions of children about this day. School authorities and parents must also ensure that water and soap are always at strategic positions for members to wash their hands.
Let’s keep Cincinnati healthy by becoming Champion Handwashers! As an expert rightly said, “Clean hands save lives”, a driving theme for Global Handwashing Day. Children should continue to act as agents of change, taking the good practices of hygiene learned at school back into their homes and communities.