Global handwashing day in Mongolia
Ulaanbaatar, 15 October 2013 – Preventable illnesses such as diarrhea and pneumonia are behind the deaths of millions of children around the world. In Mongolia, the lack of improved water and sanitation facilities, especially in rural areas causes nearly 2,000 children under-five to suffer from episodic diarrhea every year. Hepatitis A, which is transmitted through faecal contamination of water and food, is endemic in Mongolia and mostly occurs among school age children.
There is, however, an affordable, simple and effective way to reduce the risk of illness from these diseases – handwashing with soap. Handwashing with soap plays an important role in child health and survival. Simply handwashing with soap, one of the most cost-effective interventions, can reduce the incidence of diarrhea among children under five by almost 50 percent, and respiratory infections by nearly 25 percent. On October 15, 2013, Global Handwashing Day, hundreds of millions of people around the world will celebrate the importance of handwashing with soap by rallying around the slogan: The power is in your hands.
Aimed at increasing awareness and understanding of the importance of handwashing with soap as an efficient and economical way to prevent disease, Global Handwashing Day will reach over one billion people with messages about the importance of handwashing.
The Government of Mongolia is playing a very active role in the global initiative. The event organized by the government and its partners to launch the campaign is another important sign of Mongolia’s commitment to this initiative. Several related events both at the national and regional level are taking place on 15th October. In Khuvsgul, the aimag level GHD team has begun a one-month hand washing campaign. At the launch of this campaign, Dr. Ya. Buyanjargal, Head of Policy Coordination and Implementation department of Ministry of Health urged: “Many diseases can be prevented by handwashing. We therefore encourage all families, mothers and children to wash their hands. Every school, kindergarden and health center should develop the necessary conditions to promote handwashing. By doing so, we are supporting the achievement of MDG4 and contributing to the reduction of child mortality.” Similarly, the UNICEF Representative, Mr. Mohammed Fall, highlighted that “Handwashing with soap is the cheapest and fastest way of saving children’s lives. For the celebration of the Global Handwashing Day in Mongolia, UNICEF encourages everyone to join in this celebration and campaign empowering people everywhere to save lives and contribute to healthy, prosperous communities through handwashing with soap.”
UNICEF Office for Mongolia