*Picture Courtesy UNICEF
Every year the Global Hand washing Day (GHD) is celebrated on 15 October.Though the date remains the same this time,the theme for this international day is “Our hands, our future!”
Every body knows that it is a global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of hand-washing with soap as an easy, effective, and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives. This is also an opportunity to design, test, and replicate creative ways to encourage people to wash their hands with soap at critical times.
However the question is why is Hand-washing Important?
· Handwashing with soap has an important role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals—contributing to zero hunger, good health, quality education, reduced inequalities, and more.
· The World Health Organization estimates that 117,000 Indian children under the age of five died in 2015 from diarrheal diseases caused by unimproved sanitation and hygiene. This represents 22 per cent of the global burden. More than one in three children in India today are stunted, often due to the impact of chronic diarrhea caused by exposure to fecal matter. This affects both their physical and cognitive development, undermining their ability to learn and later, to earn a living.
· Handwashing with soap could prevent many of the 272 million yearly schooldays lost to diarrheal disease, and 50% of the infections acquired in healthcare settings.
· Hand-washing, accessible action can, according to research, reduce the rate of mortality from these diseases by almost 25 and 50 per cent, respectively. About 1.8 million children under the age of 5 die each year from diarrheal diseases and pneumonia, the top two killers of young children around the world. Hand-washing with soap could protect about 1 out of every 3 young children who get sick with diarrhoea and almost 1 out of 5 young children with respiratory infections like pneumonia. (Source: UNICEF).
· Although people around the world clean their hands with water, very few use soap to wash their hands. Washing hands with soap removes germs much more effectively. Hand-washing education and access to soap in schools can help improve attendance. Good hand-washing early in life may help improve child development in state like Jharkhand.
· Hand-washing is equally important in health facilities. Across all settings, patients can acquire bloodstream infections, surgical site infections, urinary tract infections, chest/respiratory infections or gastrointestinal infections. (Source: WHO)
· In households practice of hand washing with soap is limited at critical times such as after defection and before taking meals. This needs to be re-in forced.
Global Handwashing Day celebration in Ramgarh
All government schools in rural areas of Ramgarh have a handwashing units constructed using the 14th Finance Commission funds. Additionally, under the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), all anganwadi centres have a portable unit.
Ramgarh district has developed an ODF+ plan with a clear focus on handwashing with soap. The district administration in partnership with UNICEF has planned a special drive as part of the GHD celebration in the district with the participation of schools and anganwadi centres on 17 October 2017. On this day, all schools and aanganwadi will observe the day and have handwashing demonstrations. It is estimated that around 150,000 children (in schools) and 30000 (in AWCs) will wash their hands on this occasion.
Dr Madhulika Jonathan, Chief of UNICEF Jharkhand says, “ This years theme of GHD is our hands our future which articulated the need of hour to further push the agenda of adopting proper sanitation and hygiene behavior.”
Ms. Rajeshwari B, DC Ramgarh says, “Ramgarh is the first district to ensure hand washing facilities in all 700 government schools in rural areas and we will ensure the same in remaining 40 government schools in the urban areas as well. I call on private schools to join in this mission and ensure toilets and hand washing facilities for all.”