It may be seem a very simple task to wash one’s hands with soap before and after meals, and after visiting the washroom, but surprisingly many people especially children in sub-saharan Africa are very guilty of not adhering to this simple phenomenon.
A world health organization report indicates that between two to three million children die every year from diarrheal diseases.
This, according to the report has arisen because residents of developing countries fail to adhere to the simple task of keeping their environment clean.
The situation of sanitation has greatly improved over the years. Now, one can walk round the city without having to step over huge piles of refuse and the associated health risks.
But the story of Accra is not always a rosy one, in some communities’ piles of refuse on the streets and in gutters are common features.
There is also the issue of stagnated water that breeds mosquitoes posing a health threat to residents.
It is in such communities that incidence of cholera and diarrhea is rife among residents.
It is now no more surprising to see food vendors patronizing their wares in front of these choked gutters and refuse dumps and guess who their major patrons are – school children.
Children especially those below the ages of five years are the most prone to suffer from diarrhea related infections and cholera.
A world health organization report indicates that between two to three million children in Sub-Saharan Africa die every year from diarrheal diseases.
Children play and when they do they collect dirt and other disease infecting bacteria from the bare ground.
Thus when children are not guided to wash their hands before meals, it is believed the incidence of cholera and diarrheal infection could increase within the next ten years.
Another worrying trend is when adults especially food vendors do not properly wash their hands with soap before dishing out food to children.
It is to address these challenges that the United Nations set aside October 15 every year as global hand washing day.
The day is set aside to create awareness about the need to properly wash hands with soap and water before and after meals and after visiting the washroom.
As the world celebrate global hand washing day, the call on Ghanaians to adopt an attitudinal change to help address the situation of poor sanitation has remained a contentious issue over the years.
Whereas our choice of food as Ghanaians has made it impossible for us to prepare a meal without the involvement of our bear hands, the lack of an effective sanitation and hand washing campaign in the country has been linked to the emergence of several preventable diseases.
It is on record that proper hand washing with soap reduces diarrheal and respiration infections and that is why the call to wash our hands with soap has featured prominently in several sanitation campaigns.
This year’s global hand washing day is themed “Five years of Global Hand washing day celebration: Going beyond the fifth birthday of Children".
Officials are calling on all to make hand washing an integral part of the Ghanaian culture to reduce the incidences of diseases such as cholera and diarrhea in the country.