On the Global Handwashing Day UNICEF promotes improved hygiene practices
DUSHANBE, Tajikistan, 15 October 2012 – On the fifth consecutive year of marking Global Handwashing Day on October 15, the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Tajikistan in close cooperation with UNICEF continues this commemoration aimed at increasing awareness and understanding of the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases.
This year’s global campaign “Clean Hands Save Lives” calls upon public and private partnerships for handwashing to foster and support a culture of clean hands and to raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing with soap.
In Tajikistan, 23.3% of under-five mortality is due to diarrhoea, the second cause after pneumonia. This situation requires accelerating promotion of nationwide handwashing with soap to prevent the spread of diseases. Although people around the world clean their hands with water, very few wash their hands with soap at critical moments such as after using the toilet, cleaning a child or before handling food.
Handwashing with soap has an important role to play in child survival and health. One of the most cost-effective interventions, simply handwashing with soap can reduce the incidence of diarrhoea among children under five by almost 50 percent, and respiratory infections by nearly 25 percent.
“Promotion of the practice to wash hands with soap is an essential measure to prevent the spread of germs’ diseases. It is imperative, therefore, from early years to teach children to wash their hands with soap after using the toilet and before eating,” said Mr. Ikromiddin Tabarov, WASH Coordinator of the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Tajikistan.
Joint events organized by the Ministry of Education and UNICEF actively involve media and schools in transforming handwashing with soap from an abstract good idea into an automatic behaviour performed in homes, schools and communities nationwide.
The partnership between the Ministry of Education and UNICEF includes dissemination of informative and educational materials, as well as broadcast of a series of TV programmes. An interactive talk show with children organized by Children and Youth TV “Bahoriston” is one of the events that under this year’s campaign, encourages children to become agents for change by simply washing their hands with soap. All these events are aimed at spreading a life-saving message: clean hands save lives.
“Promoted on a wide enough scale, handwashing with soap can be thought of as a “do-it-yourself” vaccine to prevent the spread of disease. Ingraining the habit of handwashing could save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention” says UNICEF Representative Laylee Moshiri.
About Global Handwashing Day
For further information, please contact:
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Tajikistan