WaterAid Ghana (WAG), on Tuesday educated the people of Nima on the importance of hand washing with clean water and soap to improve on their health and living conditions.
The exercise which took place at Nima market in Accra was organised to mark Global Hand Washing Day, on the theme: “The power is in your hands.”
WAG is an international non-governmental organisation involve in improving access to water, sanitation and hygiene in poor communities.
The Global Hand Washing Day was an opportunity for food vendors to commit themselves to provide customers with clean water and soap for hand washing.
WAG has over the years marked the day annually with activities designed to increase awareness and understanding about the importance of hand washing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases.
Mr Ibrahim Musah Head of Policy Partnership at WAG said research has shown that only 50 per cent of Ghanaians practice hand washing with soap at critical moments.
He said currently Ghana is lagging behind in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target on sanitation with only 14 per cent coverage, though significant progress has been made with national water coverage.
He explained that, in Ghana more than 3,500 children under the age of five die from diseases brought about due to lack of access to water, sanitation and hygiene services.
Mr Musah said WAG believes that more hand washing with soap would make a significant contribution to meeting the MDG by reducing deaths among children under the age of five by two-third by 2015.
“Cultivating the habit of washing hands with soap before eating and after using the toilet could save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention, cutting deaths from diarrhoea by almost half and death from acute respiratory infections by one- quarter,” he said
He said hand washing with soap is hardly practiced because many people believe that washing hands with water alone to remove visible dirt is sufficient to make hands clean.
“Washing hands with water alone is significantly less effective than washing hands with soap in terms of removing germs.”
Madam Emelia Arthur, Principal Nurse at Nima Government Clinic, demonstrated to the gathering how to wash hands with clean water and soap.
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