Wash your hands

Sharlien Tjambari

Wash your hands. Spread the word, not the germs. This was the message each and every person in Erongo region must spread, says Adelheid Kandjala, the Special Adviser to the Governor of Erongo. She made these remarks at the Global Handwashing Day celebrations in Swakopmund on Monday. This day is celebrated under the auspices of UNICEF and was hosted at the Mondesa Multi-Purpose Centre.

This year marks the 11th Global Hand-washing Day, under the theme: “Clean hands – a recipe for health”. It is aimed raising awareness among communities at all levels from school children to vendors to the elderly the important link between regular handwashing with running water and soap, hygiene and health. It is also raising awareness of the importance for people to use sanitation facilities and do away with the practice of urinating, defecating and even spitting in open spaces, as that leads to unhygienic conditions for all.

Speaking on behalf of UNICEF Namibia, Rachel Odede explained Global Handwashing Day is an occasion to encourage people to wash their hands with soap, under running water. Specifically, at critical junctures in your daily routines like after the use of a toilet, after changing a baby’s nappy, after caring for an ill person, before hand-ling food, before breastfeeding, before and after meals, touching animals or after coughing and sneezing.

Schools in particular are critical venues where the availability of running water, soap and sanitary wear like ablution paper and tis-sue paper must be readily available and properly budgeted for.

Delivering an address on behalf of the Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services, Juliet Kavetuna, the Kandjala said the promotion the hygienic ritual of handwashing with soap is estimated to reduce diarrhoea-related diseases and illnesses by 48% Access to safe drinking water reduces death of children under the age of 5-years by up to 15%.

Clean hands can also prevent the current global trend of 272 million school days lost per annum due to diarrheal diseases.

Cholera, diarrhoea and Hepatitis-E can be prevented by hand-washing.

Kandjala urged community leaders to promote hand washing in communities, schools and at homes.


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