UNICEF Zimbabwe celebrates the joint commemoration on Global Hand Washing Day
UNICEF has provided wide-spread support to WASH programmes across the Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe, 30 October 2020 - UNICEF Zimbabwe and the World Health Organisation in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC) jointly commemorated key days around Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH), in Budiriro, Harare.
The joint commemoration, which is aimed at highlighting the urgency and attention towards WASH globally and at national levels celebrated the Global Hand Washing Day, National Sanitation Week, World Toilet Day and Wash Finance Week.
“As we commemorate the Global Handwashing Day, UNICEF commits to continue to work with the Government and all partners in promoting strategies that enable sustainable WASH service delivery. This should be realised by ensuring adequate financial resources allocation, being adaptive and responsive to the effects of climate change on water and sanitation,” said UNICEF Representative in Zimbabwe, Laylee Moshiri.
“Most importantly ensure that we “Leave No one Behind” by reaching the poorest including women and girls an those with disabilities and vulnerabilities who we know are those with less access to adequate water, sanitation and hygiene services,” she said.
The colourful commemoration was attended by the Vice President of Zimbabwe and Minister of Health and Child Care, Constantino Chiwenga, a limited number of senior government officials, development partners and students who provided skits to demonstrate the importance of handwashing and hygiene cleanliness during the COVID-19 crisis.
The high-level delegation toured a UNICEF Zimbabwe Water Kiosk, an innovative scheme for the population of Budiriro to access clean water. The scheme is implemented in partnership with UNDP and Oxfam. The Vice President also visited a UNICEF stand where the Representative took him through the work done in the WASH sector.
UNICEF has provided wide-spread support to WASH programmes across the country. Some recent results related to improving hand hygiene include at least 70 health care facilities supported with key handwashing supplies, over 1,200 public places reached with handwashing stations, over 6,000 hygiene promotion sessions conducted in communities, at least 96 schools have been supported with handwashing stations and over 56,000 WASH hygiene kits have been distributed to facilitate handwashing with soap for disease prevention.
In the keynote address, Vice President said “Most countries are trying to come up with a vaccine, but the truth is that we do not have a vaccine as yet. But even if we had one, let us have this culture of always staying clean, looking after ourselves for any other kind of disease.”
“Let us all follow the instructions that are being given by our health workers. Let’s all be guided by the World Health Organisation guidelines,” he said.
Leaving no on behind - Hand Hygiene for All Global Initiative
The important initiative is a WHO and UNICEF-led initiative calling for countries to synergies mid and long-term national development plans and national COVID-19 preparedness and response plans to ensure hand hygiene is a mainstay beyond the pandemic.
The Initiative calls for every sector – government, schools, health care facilities, civil society, thought leaders, community leaders and young people, media, private sector and public and private financial institutions to ensure that no one is left without access to hand hygiene.
"This year’s Global Handwashing Day theme, Hand Hygiene for All, is underpinned by that global initiative and aims to catalyze the momentum from the current COVID-19 pandemic, which has highlighted the critical role of hand hygiene as one of the most cost effective ways to prevent disease transmission as well as the need to work towards lasting handwashing habits in the long-term,” said Laylee Moshiri.
Key WASH days
Celebrated annually on 15 October, the Global Handwashing Day theme for 2020 was “Hand Hygiene for all”. Key in 2020 is the focus on the COVID-19 pandemic and emergency response for access to hygiene facilities, especially in health care facilities, schools and crowded public spaces.
The World Toilet Day is celebrated annually on 19 November. The 2020 theme is sustainable sanitation and climate change focusing on the effects of more frequent and extreme climate change impacting sanitation systems and access to clean water and handwashing facilities especially in prevention of infectious diseases such as COVID-19.
The 2020 WASH Finance Week is on 4 November bringing together finance ministers under the regional theme of “Sanitation and Water for All Regional Finance Ministers” to discuss the developing and strengthening of partnerships with finance ministers for smart investments in WASH. The 2020 National Sanitation Week was held between 14-20 September. The Week sought to foster behavior change and promote the construction of latrines and declare open defecation free zones and promote proper waste management and clean environments.
Organisations join hands in fighting COVID-19
The commemoration also showcased the various efforts for WASH being undertaken by private companies, non-governmental organisations and other development partners in their efforts to provide knowledge on WASH, and show innovation for promoting WASH through mechanized gadgets and affordable, accessible and easily utilized methods available for homes and communities.
UNICEF WASH activities and support
Key achievements for UNICEF WASH include at least 70 health care facilities that have been supported with key handwashing supplies. Over 1,200 public places reached with handwashing stations. Over 6,000 hygiene promotion sessions conducted highlighting the importance of handwashing with soap and running water for COVID-19 prevention. At least 96 schools supported with handwashing stations. Over 56,000 WASH hygiene kits distributed to facilitate handwashing with soap for disease prevention.
UNICEF Zimbabwe’s wide-ranging WASH programmes are funded with the generous support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), UK Aid, Governments of China, Japan, Sweden. Education Development Fund (EDF), European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), World Bank/Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project (ZIRP), and First Action Fund.