Schools Mark Handwashing Week
Hand washing could prevent 80 percent of diarrheal diseases in children.
This was stated by Dr. Joel Njuguna of Equity Afia-Kerugoya during celebrations for Global Handwashing Day, a campaign aimed at motivating and mobilizing millions of people worldwide to wash their hands with soap.
The campaign, which takes place on October 15 each year, aims to raise awareness of the importance of hand washing with soap as a key approach to disease prevention.
In Kirinyaga County, the event was held at Effort Junior School in Kirinyaga Central Sub-county, where over 250 students from local primary schools joined staff from Equity Afia, who were promoting handwashing and hygiene.
Equity Afia, in collaboration with the teaching staff, held a handwashing demonstration.
Dr. Njuguna stated that the main goal of commemorating Handwashing Week was to teach students the importance of washing their hands because they come into contact with various objects while playing.
“Today we are here specifically to teach young pupils the procedure and importance of handwashing so that they can learn to live with the practice. They are playing in games and come in contact with different objects, hence the need for regular cleaning,” Njuguna said.
“Children mostly suffer from diarrhea disease of which 80 percent of them can be prevented by cleaning hands. Healthy pupils will ensure maximum utilization of time in class leading to improvement in academics,” he added.
The health officer also stated that prior to the emergence of the COVID-19 virus, handwashing was the first line of defense against the spread of infectious diseases, but that it is no longer considered.
“We are also encouraging the parents to ensure the same is replicated in their various homes. It seems after COVID-19 they forget to clean their hands regularly,” he noted.
Effort Schools’ head teacher, Ebeth Bedan, said the school has partnered with Equity Afia to educate students about the importance of hygiene. She pointed out that the students are in a formative stage, and what they learn now could carry over to adulthood.
“We have a team of staff from Equity Afia to help us in teaching our pupils about hygiene. It is like a science lesson to us, especially with the new curriculum which is skills-based. Once our children learn they will share with everybody outside the school,” Bedan said.