Minister calls on citizens to wash hands to fight disease
Students washing hands from their hand-made washing jerrycans yesterday (photo by Sheila Ponnie)
By Sheila Ponnie
South Sudan joined the world in celebrating the Global hand washing day at the Seventh Day Adventists Primary School in Juba on Monday.
Speaking during the celebration, Sophia Pal Gal, the Minister of water Resources and Irrigation reiterated the need to “inculcate a culture of hand washing with soap before eating and after visiting toilets. This is a protection to save lives of people,” Gal said.
“This one alone without even a single vaccination will guarantee us that we will be safe and we will live our lives matter,” she added.
Gal added that there were five critical stages that needed practices;
“One is before eating, before preparing food, before feeding or breastfeeding or feeding the baby, after using the toilets, after changing the baby you have to wash your hands imminently,” she emphasized.
“This occasion is helping us to publically give you awareness that indeed we can be healthy and we can prevent ourselves from diseases since prevention is better than cure,” she added.
Andrea Suley, UNICEF Representative said that 75 percent of the population in South Sudan have just recently reported that at least one of their family members had contracted water born diseases in the last two years.
“Hand washing is one of the cheapest and most effective health interventions and evidence shows that it reduces the number of diarrhoea cases by 40 percent.
Repent Taban, the Representative of the organising partners said that the partners were sending one message in one voice to the children and the community members that hand washing with soap is a good practice to overcome preventable diseases like cholera and Ebola which was already in the neighbouring DRC.
“I therefore take this opportunity to remind you to be serious model for good hand washing behaviours, and remind others to always wash their hands before eating,” he said.
The celebrations were organised by UNICEF, government of South Sudan, WASH partners and other international health partners.
Global hand washing day is a campaign to motivate and mobilize people around the world to improve their hand washing habits and it is celebrated every year on the 15th of October.
This year’s Global hand washing day was marked under the theme “Clean hands-a recipe for health.”
The celebration was marked with entertainment by students from different schools with drama, poems and songs educating people about keeping hygiene.
The Global hand washing day is dedicated to spread awareness and understanding about the importance of hand washing with soap and water as an effective method to prevent several diseases and boosting immunity.