By Rebecca Kabura – IFRC WatSan / HP Delegate in Jaffna.
For the fifth consecutive year, on October 15, 2012, hundreds of millions of people around the world will celebrate Global Handwashing Day aimed at increasing awareness and understanding of the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent disease.
Over the past five years, Global Hand-washing Day has grown from a one-day celebration in a few cities to a worldwide movement that has mobilized significant investment in and political support for hand-washing with soap. Globally since 2011, 600,000 fewer children under five died than in 2008, the first year Global Hand-washing Day was celebrated.
Hand washing with soap has an important role to play in child survival and health. One of the most cost-effective interventions, simply hand-washing with soap can reduce the incidence of diarrhoea among children under five by almost 50 percent, and respiratory infections by nearly 25 percent. In 2012, Global Hand-washing Day will share its fifth birthday with more than 121 million children who are also turning five this year.
In Jaffna District Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) Jaffna branch through the Integrated Sanitation Health Education and Hygiene Promotion project whose goal is to contribute to the health status of most needy populations of Point Pedro division Jaffna district by improving access to sanitation , health education and hygiene practices with funding from International Federation of Red cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) from 15th -16th October hosted hand washing events.
This was in all the 14 target schools in Point Pedro where the project is currently implementing Child to Child schools health clubs and the school latrine construction program. The events targeted 8,000 school children and teachers and over 8,000 bars of soaps were distributed. The children also take part in proper hand-washing demonstrations and there was a drama on the same.
On 17th in Kopay division the other project site, over 750 children, teachers and parents took part in the events organised in the two schools in the target area. The project aims to echo the importance of hand-washing with soap especially at critical times and this could help each child celebrate their 5th Birthday.
Already in the previous weeks the project during the participatory events held in the 9 target grama seva divisions of Point Pedro linked this important events with hand-washing using soap with the theme “Clean Hands Saves Lives” and there was drama, songs poems, 1500 proper hand-washing leaflets were distributed, hand-washing demonstrations carried out and over 1500 bars of soap distributed.
Wash up Clean Hands saves lives: Wash a germ, make a bubble !