Rwanda celebrates Global Handwashing Day
17 October 2011 - Poor sanitation and hygiene contributes to millions of preventable deaths every year, including 1.6 million from diarrhoea alone. In Rwanda, poor hygiene and sanitation is linked to 80% of the country’s disease burden. Diarrhoea is the second cause of death amongst children under the age of five.
Rwanda celebrated Global Handwashing Day on Sunday 17 October. The event took place at Kabuye Primary School in Gasabo District, Kigali City. Around 3,000 people participated in the event at the national level, including 1,200 children in school.
The event was an occasion to launch a national 4 month campaign on hand washing with soap, use of improved and hygienic latrines and safe drinking water. Ensuring safe water can reduce diarrheal rates by 15% and health promotion by 35%, while hand washing with soap can reduce diarrheal deaths by 47%. The campaign is being implemented in the 30 districts around the country, and activities include the promotion of hand washing with soap in schools, health facilities and communities at large. Radio programs, print material (banners, posters and stickers) are being used to raise awareness of the three hygiene practices.