Stakeholders advocate for more hygiene collaborations as world marks Hand Washing Day

Washing hands

Pupils wash hands at a primary school in Nyeri. CDC recommends washing hands with soap for at least 20 seconds.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Even though hand washing is a part of our everyday routine, we frequently do not perform it correctly. Did you know that the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends washing of hands with soap for at least 20 seconds?

In its continuous efforts to increase top-of-mind awareness around hand hygiene habits and the importance of regular handwashing with soap, Dettol Kenya is calling on stakeholders and partners to join hands to safeguard gains made in containing disease burden post-Covid-19 and stay ahead of future pandemics.

The Global Handwashing Day is celebrated every year on October 15. The first Global Handwashing Day was held in 2008 where over 120 million children around the world washed their hands with soap in more than 70 countries.

The Theme for Global Handwashing Day 2022 is ‘Unite for Universal Hand Hygiene’.

Here in Kenya, to mark the day Reckitt, together with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, County WASH, and Water, held a handwashing event meant to increase awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.

Dettol School Hygiene Program has reached 2 million school-going children in the country.

Margaret Ngea, Dettol's Senior Brand Manager, noted that the country has leveraged the lessons from the last two and a half years since the coronavirus outbreak took a toll on every aspect of life.

"At Reckitt, our purpose is to protect, heal and nurture in the relentless pursuit of a cleaner, healthier World. We have a goal to make access to the highest quality hygiene, wellness and nourishment a right, not a privilege," she said.

"Through our Dettol brand, we have developed multiple programs designed to tackle public health and hygiene issues. Our Dettol School Hygiene Program has so far reached and educated over 2 million school children in Kenya on hygiene practices. Today, we trained three schools- St. Dominic, Murema and Chieko Primary with Reckitt staff volunteering to educate the children on proper handwashing. Altogether, we have trained about 2000 children today, "she added while speaking at Kasarani Primary School in Nairobi.

Currently, 9.9 million people in Kenya drink directly from contaminated surface water sources; an estimated five million people practice open defecation, according to UNICEF, with data showing only 25 percent of Kenya's population have handwashing facilities with soap and water at home.

Safe drinking water, basic sanitation, and good hygiene practices are essential for children's survival. Global evidence shows that better water, sanitation, and hygiene could prevent the deaths of 297,000 children under five each year globally.

According to Dominic Kikuyu, Nairobi Sub County Health Director, handwashing, when done correctly, is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.

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