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South Sudan, 15 October 2015: Global Handwashing Day: Raise Clean Hands and Push Cholera out

© UNICEF/South Sudan/2015/McKeever

15 October 2015, JUBA, South Sudan – More than 800,000 children in South Sudan today mark World Handwashing Day by washing their hands with soap and clean water in a symbolic show of how the practice is key in fighting cholera.

The day, celebrated nationally under the theme “Raise Clean Hands and Push Cholera out of South Sudan,” included events across the country to further spread the word that clean hands is a crucial step in containing cholera.

“More than one in 10 children in South Sudan die before their fifth birthday – most of them from diarrheal diseases and acute respiratory infections such as pneumonia,” said UNICEF’s Representative in South Sudan, Mr. Jonathan Veitch. “This can be drastically reduced by handwashing with soap and clean water.”

In 2014, South Sudan reported around 6,420 cases of cholera of which 167 cases resulted in death, according to the National Ministry of Health Report. So far this year, 1,815 cases of cholera have been reported with 47 deaths. Recently, the number of cases have declined dramatically, with no new confirmed cases of cholera reported in the past two weeks.

Following the 2014 cholera outbreak, UNICEF and partners responded by intensifying the promotion of washing hands with soap and clean water at critical times such as after using the toilet and before touching food. UNICEF has also worked with the Government and partners in establishing cholera treatment and oral rehydration centres.

This year alone, UNICEF and partners have reached nearly 116,000 families with hygiene promotion for cholera prevention, and trained more than 280 social mobilizers and 5,652 community leaders. In addition, more than 80 schools – covering 41,000 children and 920 teachers – were reached with important hygiene messages. In addition, UNICEF and partners distributed soap to over 20,000 families and provided some 550,000 households with water treatment products for safe drinking water. UNICEF continues to work with schools to make handwashing and good hygiene a part of daily routine.

“Through the generous support from our partners and in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology we have been mobilizing communities, school children and individuals to wash hands with soap and clean water during critical times in order to reduce diseases and save lives,” said Peter Mahal Dhieu, the Director General for Rural Water Supply and Sanitation

The annual Global Handwashing Day celebrations are occasions to emphasize the benefits of handwashing with soap in the prevention of common but potentially deadly diseases such as diarrhoea and pneumonia.

About Global Handwashing Day
Global Handwashing Day is celebrated on October 15. The Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap initiated Global Handwashing Day in 2008, and it is endorsed by governments, international institutions, civil society organizations, NGOs, private companies and individuals around the globe. Visit

For more information, please contact:

Mercy Kolok, Communication Officer, UNICEF South Sudan, Mobile: + 211 (0) 929 517 862 / 0955 639 658 Email:

Peter Mahal Dhieu, Director General for Rural Water Supply and Sanitation, Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, the Republic of South Sudan. Mobile: +211(0) 957 123 020 Email:



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