Gambia to commemorate Global Hand-washing Day

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Health Promotion Education under the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has announced that The Gambia will join millions of people around the world to commemorate Global Hand-washing Day.

This was revealed on Thursday in a press briefing organised by the Health Promotion Education at National Nutrition Agency’s (NaNA) office along Bertil Harding Highway.

The Global Hand-washing Day which is celebrated every 15th of October according to the director of Health Promotion Education, Modou Njie, is funded by Global Hand-washing Partnership, an international coalition organisation working to promote hand-washing with soap. And this year, he said, it will be commemorated under the theme: ‘Our Hands, Our Future.’

Mr. Njie said hand-washing goes beyond protecting peoples’ health but can also prevent disease outbreaks, reduce school absences and promote healthcare outcomes.

He said despite these benefits hand-washing with soap is practice too rarely. “Despite these benefits, hand-washing with soap is practiced too rarely, and the results are tragic,” he said. “Every year, 1.4 million children die from diarrhea or pneumonia. Infection causes 15% of newborn deaths. Hand-washing is an effective way to prevent these losses,” he said.

Njie said proper hand-washing with soap at critical times can reduce the incidence of diarrhea among children. “In fact hand-washing with soap at critical times-such as after using the toilet or before eating - can reduce the incidence 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. For everyone, hand-washing with soap is a simple, but critical way to remove barriers to education and productivity.”

According to him, the health promotion unit of the ministry of Health and Social Welfare will embark on a nationwide tour awareness campaign on the need for hand-washing. As part of awareness campaign, the global hand-washing day will be commemorated on the 13th of March 2018 at Wassu in Central River Region.

Author: Sankulleh Gibril Janko