Sierra Leone: MOHS, UNICEF Commemorate Handwashing Day

Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MoHS), together with UNICEF yesterday joined the rest of the world to commemorate the handwashing day at its conference hall, Youyi building in Freetown.

The annual global advocacy day themed 'Hand Hygiene for all' is dedicated to encourage people to be washing their hands with soap as an easy, effective, and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.

In commemoration of the day, the Governments of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Health and Sanitation and UNICEF distributed 4,500 handwashing buckets and 75,000 bars of soap to 4,000 households and 25 schools across the country.

The Global Handwashing Day was founded on 15th October, 2008, by the Global Handwashing Partnership, and is an opportunity to design, test, and replicate creative ways to encourage people to wash their hands with soap especially at critical times.

The first Global Handwashing Day was held in 2008, when over 120 million children around the world washed their hands with soap in more than 70 countries.

Since 2008, community and national leaders have used Global Handwashing Day to spread the word about handwashing, build sinks and tippy taps, and demonstrate the simplicity and value of clean hands.

Global Handwashing Day is endorsed by governments, schools, international institutions, civil society organizations, NGOs, private companies, individuals, and more.

Dr. Amara Jambai, Deputy Minister of Health and Sanitation said handwashing day has been commemorated in different countries across the world as a day to intensify awareness and better understanding about the importance of regular and diligent handwashing with soap under running water as an effective and affordable way to minimize diseases risk especially among children

"The availability of handwashing facilities in our healthcare centers encourages healthcare workers to develop the good habit of hand hygiene to prevent COVID-19 and other nosocomial infections in health care setting," he said.

He said the current COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical role that hand hygiene plays in mitigation of disease transmission, thus noting that the recent study found that regular handwashing with soap can reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 infection by 36%.

Dr. Mohamed Sesay, Director of Environmental Health and Sanitation,said sanitization is a big challenge in the area of handwashing, adding that most of the people that are living in the villages are facing the problem of hygiene as they do not have better toilet facilities in their homes, less to talk of clean water to wash their hands.

He said handwashing is key in the fight against COVID-19 and one of the stuies found out that regular handwashing with soap can reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 infection by 36%

Bisllnu Timilsina, Chief WASH, UNICEF said they are pleading to the government and the private sector for the sanitizing people in washing their hands daily. He said handwashing plays is an important role in reducing the transmission of outbreak-related pathogens such as cholera, Ebola, Shigellosis, SARS

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