Sumbrungu (U.E), Nov. 20, GNA - Dr James Akpablie, Deputy Upper East Regional Director of Health Services, on Friday said more than four million children below four years in developing countries, die annually from diarrhoea, intestinal infestations and pneumonia due to poor hand washing practices.
He said hand washing with soap had been scientifically and clinically proved to save lives of many children but less attention was being given to the practice in Ghana because it was not part of the culture of the people to wash hands with soaps many times daily.
Dr Akpablie was speaking at the Upper East Region launch of the Global Hand Washing Day, set aside to create awareness on hand washing with soap, at Sumbrungu, near Bolgatanga, on the theme: "saving lives through hand washing".
He said that the handling of bags, especially at markets or business centres, keys, diaries and door handles were sources of contamination and that hand washing with soap prevented people from contracting diseases.
Dr Akpablie said: " washing hands with soap reduces the time spent in washing hands, breaks down the grease and dirt that most germs hide in and by facilitating the rubbing and friction, dislodges them and leaves hands clean and smelling pleasant."
He called on Ghanaians to wash their hands with soap after visiting the washroom, before and after eating, arriving from work places, market, before cooking, saying: "I want all to stop bad habits like picking the nose, putting fingers in the mouth, biting fingers and rubbing of eyes with the hand, as those practises facilitate entry of germs".
Mrs Lucy Awuni, Deputy Upper East Regional Minister, called on Ghanaians to embrace hand washing with soap as it was the single most cost effective health intervention.
She commended the Regional Health Directorate for targeting teachers, children and women in rural areas in the hand washing with soap exercise and asked school children to educate their families and community members about the programme.
Mr Awuni commended Zoomlion Ghana, a sanitation company, for improving sanitation in the Region.
She asked individuals and organisations including the Ghana Education Service, non-governmental organisations and health centres to support the hand washing with soap campaign.
School children appealed to chiefs, teachers and the Municipal Chief Executive to promote the practice and thanked the United Nations Children Fund for supporting the exercise.