15 October 2012 - Simple is often beautiful, which is the case with hygiene practice. Simply washing hands with soap breaks the transmission route of infectious diseases, which is crucial in saving lives.
On 15 October 2012, Sudan joins global celebrations of Hand Washing Day. The events marking this day include a national launch event in El Fashir -North Darfur and celebrations in other regions in the country that focus on primary schools, to raise the profile of school children as active promoters of hand washing with soap. Joining together, UNICEF and partners will celebrate the declaration of seven communities as Open Defecation Free (ODF) in North Darfur State. These community residents have adopted good hygiene practices particularly using latrine and washing hands with soap.Hand washing with soap is among the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diarrhea diseases and acute respiratory infection which together are responsible for the majority of child deaths
Across the country, more than 500,000 children from over 1,120 schools are expected to celebrate Global Handwashing Day with a range of events including drama, poetry recitals, drawing competitions, community meetings, and exhibitions. This will be complemented by radio and television messages on the importance of handwashing.
Sadly, many people, in particular children under five years, continue to die due to lack of access to latrines and poor hygiene practices. Washing hands at critical times, using latrines properly, and keeping the living environment clean improve health, and also ensure dignity.
Hand washing with soap is among the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diarrhea diseases and acute respiratory infection which together are responsible for the majority of child deaths. – According to the Sudan Annual Health Statistical Report (2010), 9% of deaths of children under five are due to diarrhea and dehydration which can be prevented.
The challenge is to change human behavior. We know that if hand washing with soap becomes a habit more children’s lives can be saved, by cutting deaths from diarrhea by almost half and deaths from acute respiratory infections by one-fourth.
Hand washing with soap (or an alternative agent such as ash) at critical times – such as after contact with human excreta, cleaning a child’s bottom and/or before preparing and eating food – is a simple and cost-effective measure to improve health. It significantly reduces the two leading causes of childhood mortality worldwide – diarrheal disease and acute respiratory infection.
Hand washing activities will be conducted in Kassala, Gedaref, Khartoum, Blue Nile, South and North Kordofan, as well as within Darfur region, in addition to school activities. More than 1 million people in hundreds of communities will also participate in promotion activities such as public sessions, parades, community meetings and exhibitions. Radio and TV messages on the importance of handwashing will also be transmitted to reach more than 3.5 million people across Sudan.
UNICEF is actively promoting handwashing as a regular and essential routine by organizing activities all across Sudan to raise awareness about the benefits of regular handwashing as a positive habit, and about the need to ensure that schools, health facilities, and communities have the support needed to make handwashing a regular practice and soap availability sustained in schools, homes, public restaurants, public toilets and work places.
UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
For more information, please contact:
David Bikaba, UNICEF Sudan, email@example.com
Awatif Khalil –UNICEF Sudan, firstname.lastname@example.org