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General News Fri, 30 Jul 2010

Ghana observes 2010 Global Hand Washing Day

Accra, July 30, GNA - Annually more than 3.5 million children do not live to celebrate their fifth birthday due to diarrhoea and pneumonia, Mrs Theodora Adomako-Agyei, Extension Services Coordinator, Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), said on Friday.

She that said despite its life saving potential, hand washing with soap was seldom practiced and always not easy to promote.

Speaking at the 2010 Global Hand Washing Day in Accra, Mrs Theodora Adomako-Agyei said that it was unfortunate that hygienic practice was seldom adhered to in Ghana.

The programme was organised in collaboration with Unilever, UNICEF and the Teen's Chapel of Calvary Baptist Church.

It formed part of their vacation Bible School, which seeks to train and offer opportunities to Junior High School Graduates in transition to Senior High School to enable them to discover themselves from adolescence to adulthood.

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Activities planned for the day include hand washing and cooking competition, hand washing survey and mass demonstration of proper hand washing with soap.

Mrs Adomako-Agyei said that hand washing with soap had become one of the international hygiene agenda and the UN General Assembly had set the day aside to echo and reinforce its call for improved hygienic practices.

"Hand washing with soap is among the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diarrhoea and respiratory infections which were responsible for majority of child deaths," she added.

Mrs Adomako-Agyei bemoaned the practice where food vendors used their bare hands to dish out food, remove egg shells and ground husks, saying it was a sure and easy way of contamination through droplet from the mouth.

When not washed with soap, hands that have been in contact with human or animal feaces, bodily fluids like nasal excretion, and contaminated foods or water could transport bacteria virus and parasites to unwitting host.

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Mrs Loretta Roberts, Wash Specialist at UNICEF, said churches were instrumental in getting people to change behaviour and expressed the hope that in the next five years the number of children who wash their hands with soap would triple.

Reverend George Mallet, Associate Pastor and Director of Ministry at the Calvary Baptist Church, launching the programme, said that the Vacation Bible School had been running for the past 15 years.

He said it was to equip the children with the right information and skills to promote hand washing with soap in the church, schools and communities and was open to JHS graduates from other denominations.

Rev. Mallet said "Hand washing with soap could prevent the spread of many diseases including the pandemic H1N1. For truly clean hands always wash with soap".

Source: GNA