Experts stress on handwashing to prevent diseases

AHEAD of Global Handwashing Day, the public has been urged to continue washing their hands, as precautionary measures against infectious diseases, including Ebola that has been reported in neighboring Uganda.

According to health experts, handwashing can reduce diarrhea disease by 30 per cent to 48 per cent and acute respiratory infection by up to 23 per cent.

Briefing journalists ahead of the Global Handwashing Day that will be marked on October 15, Dar es Salaam Regional Health Officer, Ms Enezael Ayo stressed on the need for the public to build a culture of washing hands in order to prevent such diseases.

Ms Ayo who is the head of health and immunization activities in the region, said in observing this year’s handwashing day, various organisations, including WaterAid, have supplemented the government’s efforts in preventing the diseases by ensuring that public places have hand washing facilities.

“Diseases such as diarrhea and cholera can be prevented if they will continue washing their hands with clean running water and soaps,” she said.

She said WaterAid has donated handwashing soaps that will be distributed to various health facilities and public places to allow people wash their hands to prevent such diseases.

Ms Ayo said Ebola outbreak in neighboring Uganda has prompted the country to take various preventive measures, including encouraging people to wash their hands.

Receiving part of the donation, Acting Medical Officer In-charge at Mwananyamala Regional Referral Hospital, Dr Aileen Barongo expressed gratitude to WaterAid for the support.

Dr Barongo said the hospital started working with WaterAid since the Covid-19 outbreak, whereby through its support the hospital managed to install handwashing facilities.

She said following the Ebola outbreak in neighboring Uganda, the hospital has also intensified preventive measures including encouraging people to wash their hands.

WaterAid Tanzania Communications and Campaign Specialist, Ms Neema Kimaro said her organization donated handwashing soaps to support the government efforts in preventing the disease which has been reported in Uganda,

“As you are all aware that Ebola has been reported in neighboring Uganda… our organization had installed handwashing facilities in Dar es Salaam, Arusha and Zanzibar in 2020 during the Covid-19 outbreak; we are donating handwashing soaps to supplement government efforts in preventing the diseases,” she said.

Ms Kimaro said ahead of Global Handwashing Day which will be marked on October 15, WaterAid calls upon the public to continue washing their hands because the behavior since it is beneficial to their health.

On her part, WaterAid Country Director, Ms Anna Mzinga, said that global handwashing day is dedicated to increase awareness about the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective way and affordable way to prevent diseases, outbreaks and serve lives.

“It offers an open opportunity to influence governments to develop strategy and to design, implement, finance and replicate creative ways to encourage people to wash their hands with soap at critical time at scale at various settings,” she said.

Ms Mzinga noted that this year’s Global Handwashing Day’s theme is ‘Unite for Universal Hand Hygiene’.

She said the theme urges for joint action and collaboration for successful and sustainable hand hygiene strategies.

“It calls for governments, donors businesses, institutions, researchers and advocates uniting action to achieve the goal of hand hygiene for all,” she said.

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