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“Wash your hands with soap” – school children appeal to colleagues

By James Harry Obeng

 

School children in the Accra metropolis have made passionate appeal to the Ghanaian public, especially their fellow children, to make handwashing with soap a habit to help cut down on diarrhoeal and respiratory infections among children in the country.

 

Their messages were carried in various chorographical sketches and poetry recitals at a media interaction programme organized by the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), prior to the Global Handwashing Day (GHD), slated for October 15, next week.

 

The children were drawn from selected basic and Junior High Schools (JHS), including the Ministry of Health Basic School, Association International School, Mamprobi Sempe JHS, Services JHS, and the University of Ghana Basic School, to gather at the Teachers (GNAT) New Conference Hall Complex in Accra, last Tuesday.

 

The school children stated that washing hands with water alone was less effective in preventing diarrhoeal and respiratory infections in children like pneumonia, dysentery, choler and diarrhea, among many other diseases.

 

Rather, they explained that handwashing with soap would make a significant contribution as the country advances to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of reducing deaths among children under the age of five by two-thirds by 2015.

 

They said washing ones hands with water and soap was important in breaking down the grease and dirt that carry most germs by facilitating the rubbing and friction that dislodge them, leaving hands smelling pleasant.

 

They said research had shown that most children do not live to celebrate their fifth birthday because of diarrhea and pneumonia, adding that “diarrhea diseases and pneumonia together kills almost four million children under the age of five in developing countries each year”.

 

They, however, urged Ghanaians pay proper attention to washing their hands with soap, especially after visiting the lavatory, to safeguard their personal health and hygiene.

 

Presenting an overview of the Handwashing program, Ms. Theodora Adomako Agyei, of the Community Water and Sanitation Agency, said hygiene and sanitation issues were under – reported in Ghana.

 

She said the challenge of the Global Handwashing Day 2008 was to transform handwashing with soap from an abstract good idea into an automatic behavior performed in homes, schools, and communities nationwide.

 

The Global Hand washing Day (GHD), slated for Wednesday, October 13, next week, will be the centerpiece of a week of activities that will mobilize millions of people in more than 20 countries across five continents to wash their hands with soap.

 

The major objective of the GHD in Ghana is to raise awareness of the link between proper handwashing with soap and the prevention of diarrhea and respiratory infections, as well as use school children as change initiators who would take messages back to their communities.    

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October 10, 2008 - Posted by | News

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