By Maimuna Sey-Jawo
The Directorate of Health Promotion and Education on Thursday, briefed the media on Global Hand washing Day.
Officials said the celebration of the day this year will take place in Wassu, CRR North, on the theme ‘Our Hands, Our Future”.
The aim is to reduce diseases and improve quality healthcare in the country.
Speaking at the briefing, the deputy director of health promotion, Sanjally Trawally, said hand washing is very important as it can reduce transmission of diseases especially diarrhea. He said diarrhoea could be reduced by 30 to 50% if hands are properly washed especially at critical points such as before eating, after using the toilet and when preparing food.
He urged the communities to adopt this practice to improve health care.
Fatou Touray, president of the Association of Health Journalists, said the role of her colleagues is to disseminate information on relevant health matters to create awareness among the population to curb the spread of diseases.
“With this we should not wait to be invited to programmes but instead conduct interviews to inform the general public about how to prevent themselves from diseases,” she said.
Modou Njie, director of Health Promotion and Education Directorate said hundreds of millions of people around the world celebrate Global Hand Washing Day which was founded by Global Hand Washing Partnership, an international coalition of organisations working to promote hand washing with soap. Hand washing with soap, he added is an effective way to prevent disease, but still is not practiced as often or as thoroughly as it should be.
He noted that the benefits of hand washing go beyond protecting one’s own health saying the practice can prevent disease outbreaks and improve healthcare outcomes.
“Despite these benefits, hand washing with soap is practiced too rarely, and the results are tragic. Every year, 1.4 million children die from diarrhoea or pneumonia. Infections caused 15% of newborn deaths.
He revealed that hand washing with soap is an effective way to prevent these losses.
“Simple hand washing with soap at critical times, such as after using the toilet or before eating can reduce the incidents of diarrhea among children under five by nearly half and respiratory infections by approximately 25%.
He said good hygiene is necessary for good nutrition, particularly for children, and to prevent the spread of common diseases like colds and flu.
Global Hand Washing Day, he said, seeks to raise awareness about the importance of hand washing, encourage action to promote hand washing every day, ensure access to hand washing stations with soap, provide education on the importance of hand washing and motivate people to wash their hands to ensure a healthy future.