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Handwashing Day marked at Kabul school

Handwashing Day marked at Kabul school

Oct 15, 2019 - 11:58

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): Top UN and Afghan officials and partners met at a school here on Tuesday to celebrate Global Handwashing Day together with students.

Representatives from the ministries of educationinfo-icon, public healthinfo-icon, rural rehabilitation and development, UNICEF, WHO and other partners attended the event at Soria High School.

An advocacy campaign, led by the Ministry of Education and supported by UNICEF, was launched on September 20 to raise awareness on the importance of handwashing with soap.

In a joint statement, UNICEF and the Afghan government said the campaign had so far targeted 310 schools across Kabul and 26 provinces, benefiting 195,000 students and 4,800 teachers.   

Handwashing with soap is a very simple and highly effective practice preventing the spread of disease, especially diarrhea and acute respiratory infections among children. 

The 2019 Global Handwashing Day theme is ‘clean hands for all,’ which focuses on the importance of handwashing equity.

Handwashing with soap could prevent diarrheal disease by 44 percent and Acute Respiratory Infection by 24 percent, the statement said

Handwashing with soap can prevent child malnutrition which affects 41% of Afghan children under the age of five years.

In Afghanistaninfo-icon, only 36% of households have water and soap available for handwashing (Demographic Health Survey DHS, 2015). Rural people have lower access than urban.

Other vulnerable groups such as people with disability have poorer access to handwashing facilities with water and soap.

“Handwashing with water and soap plays a key role in our health, therefore all teachers, students and public should make it their habit… it should become an important part of culture and both teachers and students should support this culture at schools, their homes and in their communities” said Minister of Education Mohammad Mirwais Balkhi.

Handwashing with soap could reduce diarrhea by up to 44%, especially before eating, and after using toilets, said Feda Mohammad Paikan, deputy minister of public health

“UNICEF has been supporting the government of Afghanistan to ensure children gain access to safe drinking water, improved sanitation facilities and practice good hygiene at all time and everywhere.

“UNICEF puts special emphasis on improving the practice of handwashing with soap in schools and health centres under the Health Centre Hygiene Programme,” said UNICF Deputy Representative Sheema Sen Gupta. 

She suggested handwashing with soap after using the toilet, changing baby’s nappy and disposing of feces, before feeding children or before contacting food.



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