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Maintain Clean Hands To Prevent Diarrhea and Hygiene-Based Diseases, Kenyans Urged

Maintain Clean Hands To Prevent Diarrhea and Hygiene-Based Diseases, Kenyans Urged

Every year, approximately 1.3 million young children worldwide die from diseases that are largely preventable, such as diarrhea caused by poor sanitation, which could be greatly reduced by handwashing.

Mr. Mohammed Duba, Secretary General of the Association of Public Health Officers Kenya (APHOK), said during celebrations to mark Global Handwashing Day at Kaharati Primary School in Maragua Sub County, Murang’a, that proper handwashing prevents 85 percent of diseases.

“Thoroughly cleaning hands with clean water and soap or an alcohol-based hand rub helps prevent a range of diseases like diarrhea and other hygiene-based diseases,” said Duba.

Every year on October 15, Global Handwashing Day raises awareness about the importance of washing hands with clean water and soap as an effective and inexpensive way of preventing disease and saving lives.

The theme of this year’s Global Handwashing Day is “united for universal hand hygiene.”

Duba stated that this initiative was created to promote and prevent health standards because, in the past, people did not understand the importance of hand washing and many lives were lost as a result.

“Globally, the burden of diarrheal infections among young children under five remains high” noted Duba, adding that continued handwashing is crucial to help reduce the rate of spread of these killer diseases.

He went on to say that hand washing is very important and should be part of every child’s and person’s tradition.

Handwashing with soap before eating and preparing meals, as well as after toilet use, has been shown to reduce diarrheal infections, according to the APHOK Secretary General.

Duba led the students and teachers in demonstrations of proper hand washing with soap and clean water to reinforce the importance of hand washing.

“School going children are at a risk of getting transmittable diseases as a result of the environment they are in and there is need to show them the proper way of washing their hands as a preventive measure to diseases like diarrhea” he divulged.

Duba observed that the covid-19 pandemic has increased awareness of the importance of hand washing with clean running water and soap.

According to the health indicators, proper handwashing is critical in helping to reduce the spread of Covid-19 while also helping to prevent diarrheal diseases, according to Duba.

“If we don’t continue to invest in handwashing, we risk continuing to see more young children dying unnecessarily every single year,” he added.

He also urged government and community leaders to promote handwashing culture in schools, healthcare facilities, workplaces, homes, and public places.

During the same event, Murang’a County Director of Health Dr. Winfred Kanyi stated that most diseases can be avoided by simply washing one’s hands.

“Prevention is better than cure,” said Kanyi, adding that, “As a county if we focus on prevention measures like practicing hand washing with clean water and soap, we will keep diseases like diarrhea at bay.”

Kanyi noticed that many cases of diarrheal infections, such as diarrhea, decreased in the county during the Covid 19 pandemic because people washed their hands frequently.

“There were less queues in our health facilities of such cases during the pandemic because people were washing their hands with soap and water,” said Kanyi adding that the county health department sensitized the locals on the importance of handwashing

The Director stated that by encouraging children and families to practice handwashing, infectious disease cases could be greatly reduced.

Furthermore, she stated that handwashing not only lowers the rate of infection in young children, but also keeps children in school because they will not become ill and be forced to miss classes.

“Health programs in schools were introduced to help the schools struggling with proper sanitization to prevent cases of outbreaks of infectious diseases like diarrhea,” opined Kanyi.

She also advised the adults in attendance to serve as role models because children tend to mimic what they see and do from their parents.

The Director also noted that a lack of access to clean water in some parts of the county poses a challenge in some households and schools, thereby impeding handwashing.

“The county health department will continue to work with the government to continue to put measures in place to see how such areas can have access to clean water to prevent needless deaths due to other infectious,” she said.

Kanyi emphasized the importance of government, the private sector, the community, faith leaders, and others who can influence hygiene habits in leading the charge to promote handwashing as a disease prevention measure.

Private partners such as international nutrition and the Ahadi Trust Fund contributed soap to the school administration to help keep the culture of handwashing in schools alive in primary schools.

Maintain Clean Hands To Prevent Diarrhea and Hygiene-Based Diseases, Kenyans Urged

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