Ohangwena Region commemorates Global Handwashing Day

Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services Juliet Kavetuna says hand washing with soap under running water is the single most effective and inexpensive way to prevent all diseases.

Kavetuna said this at Oshikango of the Helao Nafidi Town in the Ohangwena Region during the commemoration of the Global Hand Washing Day on Tuesday.

According to her, the handwashing with soap and running water reduces death among communities, mostly children under five years.

She noted that during July 2018 to September this year, Ohangwena Region has reported 112 suspected Hepatitis E cases, of which 75 are confirmed cases and one maternal death linked to Hepatitis E outbreak.

During the regional assessment in the Ohangwena Region regarding the Hepatitis E outbreak, Kavetuna said, it was learned that all the people diagnosed with Hepatitis E were mostly male who depend on vendors' food.

Hence the relevance of addressing handwashing as a main prevention mechanism for Hepatitis E spread, stated the Deputy Minister.

She declared it a duty to regional and local authority councillors, traditional leaders and senior government officials to ensure that the communities they serve are having access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation.

Kavetuna emphasised that the crucial moments for proper handwashing with running water and soap or ash are before, during and after preparing food, before eating food, after using the toilet, after changing baby nappies, after flowing nose, coughing or sneezing and after touching garbage.

She pointed out that health massages on handwashing with running water and soap will be disseminated to the public through electronic and print media such as radio, television and newspapers, as well as through house-to-house campaigns by community health workers this week.

Kavetuna then called on leaders to include the importance of handwashing in all their speeches in order to change the hygiene behaviour practices.

Speaking on the same occasion on behalf of the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), Gregor von Medeazza sad it is a fact that washing hands with soap plays a crucial role in minimising childhood illnesses, improving child survival rates and improving the overall health of people in any country.

Von Medeazza explained that since the inaugural Global Handwashing Day in 2008, countries across the world have used the day of 15 October to push for positive actions, to safe lives and the lives of children through the practice of handwashing with soap.

According to him, the Global Handwashing Day commemoration continues to serve as an important reminder that regular washing of hands with soap, can save the lives of all people � from those living in the poorest households to those who are from the richer households

Reports show us that of the approximately 120 million children born in the developing world each year, half will live in households without access to improved sanitation, at grave risk to their survival and development, von Medeazza cited.

He went on to say poor hygiene and lack of access to sanitation together contribute to about 88 per cent of deaths from diarrheal diseases, accounting for 1.5 million diarrhea-related under-five deaths each year.

The Day is commemorated under the theme: Clean Hands for All.

Source: Namibia Press Agency