On the occasion of Global Handwashing Day, WaterAid Ghana is urging the Government to make financing available to accelerate hand hygiene for all. Globally, 2.3 billion people, almost one in three, lack soap and water for handwashing at home, in least developed countries however, nearly two thirds of people living in least developed countries lack soap and water for handwashing at home.
The nature of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the clarion call for hand hygiene as a key safety protocol against the spread of COVID-19 re-echoes WaterAid Ghana’s long held position that hand hygiene is essential to better protect more people from Public Health Emergencies. Handwashing is key to reducing the burden of many diseases which pose chronic challenges to population’s access to sustainable quality healthcare and development. In the last 18 months, the world has seen the importance of hand hygiene and the role it plays, with it being the “first-line” of defense in preventing outbreaks and reducing the toll of both current and future pandemics.
The theme for this year’s Global Handwashing Day, “Our Future is at Hand – Let’s Move Forward Together” aptly puts our future and life post COVID-19 in perspective. It is literally in our hands; Ghana and by extension the world, needs to embrace this pandemic as a turning point to address the historic neglect of hand hygiene investments, policies, and programs once and for all. To commemorate this day, WaterAid Ghana calls on the government to:
- Support of a 2022 World Health Assembly Association on Hand hygiene.
- Commit to urgently increase investment in hand hygiene through: ringfenced budget allocation and/or resource mobilization plan for hand hygiene aligned with achievement of national hand hygiene plans
- Strengthened budget monitoring and tracking of hygiene/hand hygiene spending across sectors at national and sub-national levels
- Accelerate scale up and accountability of hand hygiene through development and implementation of costed national hand hygiene plans
As an organisation, WaterAid Ghana believes that strengthening resilience of future pandemics and health threats will not be possible, especially for vulnerable communities, without addressing water, sanitation, and hygiene as crucial aspects of public health.