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15.10.2008 Social News

World hand washing day to be marked

By The Statesman

More than 3.5 million children do not live to celebrate their fifth birthday because of intestinal worms, SARS and Avian Flu.

Hand washing is effective in preventing the spread of disease even in crowded, highly contaminated slum environments, research has shown.

 The  Community Water and Sanitation Agency in partnership with Development Partners, will on the 15th of October mark this year's Global Hand Washing Day in recognition of the adoption of the year 2008 as an International Year of Sanitation.

The event aims at raising awareness on hand washing with soap at both the global and local levels and to inspire commitment for hand washing with soap among countries on the globe.

It is also aimed at creating a platform for the GHD Coalition to collaboratively promote the event annually.

According to Ben Kubabom, an official of CWSA, the initiative was developed to improve the health of the ordinary Ghanaian by encouraging them to wash their hands with soap through public-private partnership.

 "The global campaign will focus on school children since they are the ones who can take messages back to their communities', he asserted.

Analysts have indicated that hand washing with soap is the single most cost-effective health intervention. Hand washing with soap has been identified as the most effective way to avert disability adjusted life-years associated with Diarrhea.

 It is also an order of magnitude, less expensive than immunization. It is estimated that a daily investment in measles immunization anywhere ranges from US$250 to US$4,500.

Mr. Kubabom said the event would be launched at the Children"s Park. It is expected to bring together high profile dignitaries, school children, traditional rulers, NGOs and development partners.