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UN International Year of Sanitation and Global Hand Washing Day Commemorated

Oct 21, 2008, 6:07 AM | Article By: Lamin Darboe

The Gambia last Wednesday joined the rest of the international community to commemorate UN international year of sanitation and global hand washing day.

Global hand washing day, the first of its kind, focuses on children and schools in order to raise awareness and promote behavioral change.

The year 2008 has been dedicated as international year of sanitation with the aim of focusing attention for the benefits of attaining the MDG's goal seven to cut by half the proportion of people without access to safe water and basic sanitation by 2015.

The vice president, Dr. Aja Isatou Njie Saidy, launched the international year of sanitation and global hand washing day at a ceremony held at the Buffer Zone on Wednesday.

Speaking at the occasion, Madam Njie Saidy described both events as significant and fundamental to the health and survival of children.

Vice president Njie-Saidy highlighted the importance of washing hands with soap, saying it is the most effective and least costly of preventing diarrhea and pneumonia.

She expressed governments' full commitment and political will to the attainment of the MDG targets.

Also speaking at the occasion, UNICEF country representative Ming Wee Kan also described sanitation as a fundamental element in breaking the poverty circle and bringing human dignity into the lives of men and women, young and old.

She said that poor sanitation and hygiene has a negative impact on education and highlighted the need for school children to have access to good hygiene systems with hand washing facilities fitted in their school toilets.

In his statement, the Secretary of State for Fisheries and Water Resources, Yankuba Touray, dilated on his departments' plan to reform the water sector to create the enabling environment for sustainable use and management of water resources.

Other speakers at the occasion included the Mayor of the Kanifing Municipal Council, Yankuba Colley.