Mali celebrates global handwashing Day with live performances and hygiene events
Bamako, Mali, 26 October 2009 – For the country of Mali, Global Handwashing Day holds special significance.
About one in five children in Mali dies before the age of five and approximately half of these deaths are caused by hygiene-related preventable diseases.
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A reported 1,000 children in Gao celebrated the day by gathering in the local stadium and washing their hands together.
There was also a performance by the famous Malian musician Baba Salah.
The record was previously owned by Bangladesh, where 1,200 children washed their hands at the same time.
The massive event to celebrate Global Handwashing Day in Bamako was organized in part by Mali’s Ministry of Health.
But the purpose of the day wasn’t only to break a record; it was also to raise consciousness about the importance of washing hands with soap at critical moments during the day.
To help break through the misinformation, UNICEF and Mali’s Ministry of Health invite many artists and political figures to help celebrate the day.
Spreading the message
"We want things to change," he said. "We’d like children to teach us – the older generation – how to eat properly and have better hygiene. I really hope that when kids go back home tonight, they tell their parents to wash their hands with soap."
By Edward Bally