At least 64 per cent of households in Uganda do not wash their hands with water and soap at critical junctures, the Ministry of Health has indicated.
The details are contained in the Uganda Water and Environment Sector Performance Report, 2018, which also shows that the situation is worse in schools where only 40 per cent of schools in the whole country wash hands with soap.
Dr Charles Olaro, the director of health services at the Health ministry, said hand washing with soap is one of the most effective means of preventing diarrhoeal diseases, along with safe stool disposal.
"Evidence suggests that improved handwashing can have a major impact on public health in any country and significantly reduce the two leading causes of childhood mortality -diarrheal disease by 40 per cent," he said in a statement issued yesterday as Uganda joined the rest of the world in celebrating the Global Hand Washing Day.
The national celebrations were held in Napak District.
"Although the Uganda Bureau of Statistics census 2012 indicates that almost every household (97 per cent) in Uganda, regardless of economic status, has soap, hand washing with soap at critical junctures is not widely practised for laundry, bathing and washing utensils," Dr Olaro added.
According to the ministry, Napak is one of the lowest ranking districts when it comes to hand washing coverage, with sector performance reports indicating a massive drop in the area from 11 per cent in 2017 to one per cent in 2018. This is despite the district having many water sanitation and hygiene partners. The ministry said they will focus on a nationwide hand washing drive.