Uganda is set join the rest of the world in celebrating the Global Hand Washing Day.
Celebrations will take place in Napak district today 15’h October 2019.
According to Dr. Olaro Charles, the Director General Health Services, Global Hand washing Day (GHWD) is a global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of Hand Washing with Soap (HWWS) as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.
He said the Day is an opportunity to design, test, and replicate creative ways to encourage people to wash their hands with soap at critical times.
“This year’s theme focuses on leaving no one behind in hand washing advocacy and reminds us to ensure that hand washing initiatives are equitable and inclusive at community, regional, national and global levels,” he said.
The Global Hand Washing Program (GHWP) has declared this year’s tagline as “Clean Hands for all.”
The National GHWD Forum is intended as an advocacy platform. The forum aims at attracting a mass of critical change agents and hand washing ambassadors across the country.
Its main Objectives are: Engage policy makers, Development Partners, Civil Society Organizations and Private Sector to prioritize hygiene promotion and shine a spotlight on the state of handwashing in the Country.
Uganda Water and Environment Sector Performance report (2018) indicates that Hand Washing with soap has stagnated for the past 10 years with meagre leaps of 1% increase annually for the whole sector.
This indicates a huge public health concern where over 64% of Ugandan households do not wash their hands with soap and water at critical junctures.
The report also indicates that more than 35,000 children, do not live to celebrate their fifth birthday because of malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia.
Handwashing with soap is one of the most effective means of preventing diarrheal diseases, along with safe stool disposal and safe and adequate household water supply.
Evidence suggests that improved handwashing can have a major impact on public health in any country and significantly reduce the two leading causes of childhood mortality-diarrheal disease by more than 40%.
The Uganda formative study (2007) and UBOS census (2012) indicate that almost every household (97%) in Uganda, regardless of economic status, has soap.
Handwashing with soap at critical junctures, however, is not widely practiced instead soap is prioritized for laundry, bathing and washing utensils.
Napak district is one of the lowest ranking districts when it comes to hand washing coverage struggling to improve hand washing coverage.
Sector performance reports indicate a massive drop in hand washing in Napak from 11% in 2017 to 1% in 2018. Despite having many WASH partners in the district, the hand washing coverage is so low.
This year the focus will be on a District-Wide HWWS Action Plan that will bring all key stakeholders to pursue a common agenda of HWWS for everyone forever.