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Global Handwashing Day: Only 3 out of every 10 Ugandans wash Hands with soap after the toilet

KAMPALA, 15 October 2014 – Today is Global Handwashing Day! Handwashing with soap by adults after using toilets has increased to 32% from 14% in 2007 in Uganda, according to the Uganda Water and Environment Sector Performance Report 2014. This reflects that only three out of every ten Ugandans wash their hands with soap after the toilet. The government and partners are targeting to reach a national wide coverage of 50% by 2015.

The National Hand Washing Secretariat with support from UNICEF and other partners initiated a campaign to promote handwashing with soap in communities and in schools in 30 districts of Uganda. The districts are Iganga, Nebbi, Kamuli, Kasese, Ibanda, Lira, Tororo, Mbale, Mpigi, Hoima, Kabale, Masaka, Rukungiri, Mityana, Kisoro, Rakai, Bulisa, Kaliro, Butalejja, Sironko, Oyam, Koboko, Alebtong, Koboko, Butambala and Mitooma.

Access to handwashing facilities in primary schools is 37%, which is 2% higher than in the previous year.

As the world celebrates the Global Handwashing Day, UNICEF continues to support government to strengthen behaviour change communication in order to improve handwashing with soap to save the lives of Ugandan children.

The formation of School Health Clubs (SHCs) has given pupils an opportunity to promote good sanitation and hygiene practices especially proper use of latrines and handwashing with soap at critical times, in schools and in their communities.

Each year, the Global Handwashing Day is observed on 15 October, to promote handwashing and raise awareness of the important role the practice plays in child survival and overall community health. This year Uganda joins the rest of the world to observe the 7th annual Global Handwashing Day, under the theme “Choose handwashing, choose health.”

Handwashing is one important tool in the fight against viral diseases like Ebola in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea and the recent confirmed case of Marburg in Uganda.

“Handwashing with soap is one of the cheapest, most effective ‘vaccines’ against viral diseases, from the seasonal flue to the common cold,” said Aida Girma, UNICEF Representative.

Handwashing with soap ensures that the transmission of germs is restricted, especially among children who are more prone than adults to diarrhoea and other childhood illnesses. Also, young children are more vulnerable than any other age group to the ill effects of unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene practices.

According to the Uganda Demographic Health Survey 2011, diarrhea is a major cause of morbidity and mortality among young children in Uganda. Diarrhea was more common among children who lived in households with a non-improved toilet facility or a shared toilet facility compared with children who lived in households with improved, not shared facilities (24% and 19% respectively).

Today, UNICEF joins the Government of Uganda, Rotary and the Private Sector, to collectively work towards improving handwashing in Uganda. We invite all companies and NGOs to join this cause. Uganda’s Hand washing secretariat (hosted by SNV) is well equipped to help you participate.

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About Global Hand Washing Day:
Global Hand Washing Day is celebrated on October 15. The Global Public-Private Partnership for Hand Washing with Soap initiated Global Hand Washing Day in 2008, and it is endorsed by governments, international institutions, civil society organisations, NGOs, private companies and individuals around the globe. Visit http://www.globalhandwashingday.org/

About UNICEF
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information, please contact:

In UNICEF, Catherine Ntabadde, Communication Specialist, UNICEF Uganda, +256 772 629567, cntabadde@unicef.org

In SNV, Robert Otim, Hand washing Project Manager, SNV Uganda, +256 754 563274, ROtim@snvworld.org

 

 
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