Hand Washing

The Ghana Education Service with UNICEF and other partners, have observed the 2020 World Handwashing Day in Accra, calling on Ghanaians to maintain effective handwashing as a key cultural norm.

The Day, which is marked on October 15 annually, is aimed at promoting effective handwashing habits among populations, and also creates awareness on the key benefits of this simple practice.

Madam Cecilia Abena Dapaah, Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, in an address, called on Ghanaians to sustain the gains so far made with regards to reduced respiratory infections and sanitation-related diseases over the past few years.

She said reports from the Ghana Health Service for instance, indicated that the country had not recorded any case of Cholera or Dysentery since 2017, due to the active promotion and practice of handwashing, adding that the benefits of that simple practice was currently being realised in Ghana’s low records of COVID-19 infection.

She therefore encouraged the public, to strictly adhere to the COVID-19 protocols, which included regular handwashing with soap under running water, making the practice part of their lives.

Madam Dapaah, said the government remained committed to the safety and wellbeing of its people, and cited the investment of GHS 834million (140 million dollars) into its free water supply to communities project, to help Ghanaians maintain the culture of handwashing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases.

She stated that water was an essential commodity needed in the business of effective handwashing, and most importantly, in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic, and gave the assurance that government would sustain the free water project till the end of the year.

Ms Anne-Claire Dufay, the UNICEF Country Representative, handed over additional handwashing facilities to the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service, for onward distribution to schools in the Greater Accra Region.

She said the facilities included Veronica buckets and other hygiene supplies, and explained that UNICEF together some development partners had been at the forefront of promoting and providing support for Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) services in especially schools across the country, to help create an effective handwashing culture among pupils.

She said recent studies had shown that effective handwashing, could reduce infection rate by 36 per cent, and was therefore happy that through its collaboration with the Ministry of Education and other stakeholders, handwashing had increased from 12 per cent in 2012 to 48.5 per cent by 2017.

She pledged the commitment of UNICEF to sustain the gains made, and called on the Government and all, including private sector businesses, to invest in WASH services, calling on donors to prioritise their investment into water and sanitation.

The media should intensify advocacy and sustain awareness creation for ensuring the availability of functional WASH facilities especially in schools, to help make the country safer for all including children, she said.

Mrs Felicia Okine, a Director at the Ministry of Education, thanked the UNICEF for the continuous provision of WASH facilities to schools.

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