KATHMANDU: Nepal is celebrating second Global Hand-washing Day (GHD) Tomorrow. The slogan for this year ‘Clean hands save lives’ is aimed at increasing awareness about washing hands with soap to keep away diseases.
Experts opined that unhygienic living, poor sanitation and lack of clean drinking water causes outbreak of various communicable diseases, as for example diarrhoeal outbreak in the Mid-West recently. “Washing hands with soap could
keep many diseases at bay,” said the experts.
Kamal Adhikari, an officer at National Sanitation Action Steering Committee said that there was a need intervention into the society to raise awareness on the importance of hand washing and its effect on health.
He blamed economic obstacles to be the culprit as people in the hinterlands could not buy soaps. He also talked of an integrated approach for health, hygiene and sanitation.
While celebrating the Day, concerned ministries expressed joint commitment for extension of socially inclusive latrines, continuation of sanitation campaign, awareness programmes, establishment of national sanitation fund, recognition of individuals and organisations promoting sanitation and hygiene.
The authorities also echoed the establishment of sanitation as basic right of people in line with the declaration of South Asian Conference on Sanitation- III.
Meanwhile, Dr Babu Ram Marasini, senior health administrator, informed that as per the National Demographic and Health Survey-2006 only 51 per cent Nepalese washed their hands with soap.
,”We are planning to develop strategies for the effective implementation of sanitation programmes,” he said.
Similarly a UN body also revealed that more than
3.5 million under-five children were dying round the globe every year from diarrhoea and pneumonia-related diseases.
The death in Nepal alone stands at 10, 500.
“The simple act of washing hands with soap can reduce the incidence of diarrhoea by 45 per cent and respiratory infections by nearly 50 per cent”, said Anita Pradhan, documentary manager at Water Aid Nepal.