A charity organization is calling on learning institutions to entrench the culture of handwashing among students as a way to curb the spread of diseases.
During fetes for the Global Handwashing Day, Rotary Club of Murang’a demonstrated to pupils of a local primary school the correct ways of washing hands.
The Club’s President, Ms. Judith Thuo speaking when she led members of the club to donate soap among other detergents at St. Mary’s Primary school underscored the need for hand washing saying it will help school-going children to avoid contracting communicable diseases.
Thuo challenged learning institutions to create and support a culture of handwashing through constant sensitization as well as provision of adequate handwashing facilities.
A survey by the club across many schools in Murang’a County revealed that even as many of them have running water, there is hardly any soap available for use by learners to wash their hands.
Thuo said that the club had joined the globe in advocating for handwashing with water and soap as an effective and affordable way of preventing diseases and saving lives.
“In line with this year’s Global Handwashing Day “Unite for Universal Hand Hygiene”, we join the rest of the world to create awareness and demonstrate the simplicity and the value of clean hands.
We are reminded of the importance of protecting ourselves, our families and communities through washing our hands with soap and water,” she said.
She noted that promotion of proper hygiene and sanitation practices is one of the seven areas of focus around which Rotary Club operates.
“Other areas are Economic and Community Development, Maternal and Child Health, Supporting the Environment, Basic Education and Literacy, Disease Prevention and Treatment as well as Peace and Conflict Prevention and Resolution,” she added.
The president also observed that while a lot of emphasis on handwashing with soap and water was laid during the Covid-19 outbreak, many institutions have now relaxed on implementation of the practice, despite the fact that a large percentage of other deadly ailments are spread by contaminated hands.
Research by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), indicates that washing hands with water and soap could reduce deaths from diarrheal disease by up to 50 percent. Researchers also estimate that if everyone routinely washed their hands, one million deaths a year could be prevented.
Thuo advised students that practicing washing hands regularly and at key times such as after visiting the toilet significantly reduces the risk of diarrhea and influenza that can cause serious illness and even death.
The World Health Organization (WHO) observes that handwashing can also reduce the risk of respiratory illnesses such as scold within the general population by 16-21 percent. It will also reduce absenteeism due to gastrointestinal illness in school going children by 29-57 percent which significantly contributes to the achievement of education goals.
The school’s Board of Management Chairman, Michael Gachichio, expressed gratitude to the Rotary Club, noting that the soap donation will go a long way in promoting the culture of handwashing in the school, which has a population of 432 pupils.
He said that the school was committed to observing sustained hand hygiene among the school fraternity.
During the event, the club in collaboration with Lifebuoy donated soap bars, liquid hand wash and sanitizers for use by teachers and pupils.
By Bernard Munyao