VP, Minister Tip Citizens On Hygiene

This article was last updated on May 25, 2022

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The appeal came on Monday as South Sudan joined the rest of the world to mark the Global Hand-washing Day, commemorated at Gudele East Basic Primary School in Juba. The theme for this year’s celebration is: “The power is in your hands, wash your hands with soap at all times for a healthy life.” The Day should have been celebrated on 15 October.

Igga urged all South Sudanese, especially children, to make hand-washing with soap a regular habit.

“Washing Hands Oyee……lack of good hygiene practices is one of the reasons we have a short life expectancy in South Sudan. Don’t let bad habits cut our precious children’s lives short,” the Vice President told the guests. “Wash your hands with soap regularly – it will help you to live a long life!”

The guests included the Water Minister Nunu, the Minister of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, Awut Deng Acuil; the Minister of Lands, Housing and Physical Planning, Chatherine Juan Bennia, development partners and schoolchildren from six local schools. 

Minister Nunu cited five“critical moments in hand-washing practices for better health and sanitation that she said can dramatically reduce transmission of disease-causing germs. 

They are washing hands before eating; 2) before preparing food; 3) before feeding or breastfeeding a baby; 4) after using the latrine; and 5) after changing a baby’s diapers.

“Practicing correct and consistent hand-washing with soap during these critical moments will help reduce the risk of diarrhoeal diseases in your family,” she said.

“In particular, all care-givers are encouraged to establish a simple and affordable hand washing facilities in their homes and schools, to encourage young children and family members to wash their hands consistently.”

Even in communities that do not have access to improved drinking water and sanitation, simple, low-cost solutions such as “tippy taps” are within financial and technological reach.

UNICEF’s Deputy Representative Pelucy Ntambirweki said theme for the celebration this year is meant to, “emphasize the power we have in making responsible choices both individually and collectively for healthy living by washing our hands with soap at all times.”

She said: “Let’s all be agents of change”, she said. “Advocating, educating, and motivating our family members, friends, colleagues and communities on the importance of hand-washing with soap, especially for children. That is why we are joining the world today in this endeavour to ensure hand-washing is a continuous practice and not just a one day event!”

Diarrhea and pneumonia are among the three most dangerous diseases for children under five but can be effectively avoided by consistent hand-washing with soap.  Diarrhoea and pneumonia are the two biggest killers of children worldwide – and many of those tragic and unnecessary deaths could have been prevented by the simple act of washing hands with soap.

According to figures from UNICEF and the WHO, hand-washing with soap, at “critical moments,” can rate of diarrhoea by more than 40 per cent, and the incidence of acute respiratory infections such as pneumonia by around 23 per cent.

Global Handwashing Day was actually started in South Sudan, on October 15, 2008. It was celebrated on Monday because of the Eid el Adha holiday on October 15 this year.

UNICEF and Unilever, the main which was a partner in the event, have been working together in a public private partnership to promote hygiene behaviour change through community-led approaches to promoting sustainable use of locally available materials in the construction and maintenance of latrines at the household level and promoting hand-washing with soap in schools.

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