Volta Regional Minister, Archibold Yao Letsa, urged Ghanaians on Sunday to make handwashing and sanitation a national priority due to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases.
Letsa made this appeal in his keynote address during the national event to commemorate the Global Handwashing Day which falls on Oct. 15 every year.
“Hands are principal conveyers of disease-causing pathogens from person to person, either through direct contact or indirectly through surfaces. Proper handwashing with soap helps to remove germs,” the regional minister said.
He said if hands were properly washed with soap under clean running water, “it helps to prevent the transmission of respiratory infections and diarrhoeal diseases including cholera.”
The minister emphasised that although simple and inexpensive, proper handwashing is very effective in the prevention and eradication of infectious diseases.
Letsa, however, expressed disappointment at the apparent rolling back of the gains made in handwashing by the general public during the COVID-19 pandemic as the disease waned.
The minister called for collective effort to deepen awareness about the importance of handwashing due to its health benefits.
He urged the relevant agencies and partners to use public education and the reintroduction of handwashing facilities in all public places for public use to entrench the culture of handwashing to deepen the practice among Ghanaians.
He also urged local government assemblies, churches, mosques, school authorities, and traditional councils to focus on creating appropriate places for handwashing in households, communities, schools, health facilities, and other meeting places.
“It is crucial that everyone has a place to wash their hands with soap under running water. For people to embrace the practice of good hand hygiene, they need access to hand hygiene facilities conveniently located and user-friendly,” Letsa stressed.
“I appeal to everyone in the Volta Region and the country at large to make handwashing with soap a priority in their daily activities and to provide a better future for the present and subsequent generations” Letsa added.
“Clean Hands are Within Reach” is the theme for the 2023 Global Handwashing Day celebration, and Ghana’s celebration was held at the Church of Pentecost in Akatsi.
The team from the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), which organizes the annual national commemoration, sensitised worshippers on handwashing.
The national commemorative event saw the introduction of ‘SATO Tap’, a simple handwashing device for people on the move, to the people of the Volta Region.
Children in the Church also used drawing, painting, bead-making, and sentence formation to create messages for an effective national handwashing education campaign.
Theodora Adomako-Adjei, the national coordinator of the national handwashing campaign, urged food vendors and people who handle food at home and elsewhere to ensure that they wash their hands thoroughly with soap under running water before handling food to protect themselves and those who eat their meals from infections.
The national coordinator later took the worshippers through the most effective ways to wash hands and the most important times to wash hands.
Officials of the World Bank Group, UNICEF, World Vision Ghana, and other stakeholders, supporting handwashing campaign activities in Ghana, were also present at the national commemorative event.