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13.07.2005 Health

Hand washing campaign launched in Tema

By GNA

Tema, July 13, GNA - Five deaths, 5,415 cases of diarrhoea and 938 cases of Typhoid fever were recorded by public hospitals within the Tema Municipality in 2004.

The Municipal Director of Health Services, Dr Ernestina Mensah-Quainoo, who disclosed this on Tuesday, stated that a number of those cases and deaths could have been prevented with consistent practice of hand washing with soap.

She was speaking at the launch of the Municipal Hand Washing With Soap campaign, under the theme, "Hand Washing With Soap-A Millennium Behaviour Change".

The programme is aimed at sensitising and creating awareness on the need for washing of hands with soap in the communities and schools. The Municipal Health Director mentioned some of the critical times when one must wash hands to be healthy as after using the toilet, before eating and feeding a child.

She said the simple behaviour of hand washing with soap, when practised widely in everyday, can save many lives especially that of children under five years of age'.

She pledged the Ghana Health Service commitment to working closely with all partners to promote hand washing with soap in all communities in the Municipality, since that is an effective way to prevent diarrhoea and other related diseases.

The Regional Director, Community Water and Sanitation Agency, (CWSA), Mr Samuel Edem Asimah, said the 'Truly clean hands' campaign is a global initiative to reduce child morbidity and mortality from diarrhoea and respiratory infections, which kill over two million children yearly.

He said global research have shown that hand washing with soap is the most effective intervention against diarrhoea, cutting risk to diarrhoea diseases by over 40 per cent.

He therefore urged food vendors to cultivate the habit of keeping their hands clean in handling food, whiles parents safeguard the health of their families by educating their children on hand washing.

He disclosed that the CWSA with support from the Danish Government's International Development Agency (DANIDA), have facilitated the construction of institutional KVIP latrines and a hand washing facility attached to it in 89 schools in the region.

In his welcome address, the Municipal Coordinating Director, Mr George Scott, announced that the Tema Municipal Authority, as part of its efforts to improve sanitation, has paid 2 billion cedis to three refuse contractors to collect refuse in the communities.

It has also started placing litter boxes in the communities to ensure that there is cleanliness, whiles portable water has also been supplied to some villages within the municipality to prevent diseases. 13 July 05

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