WASH-Net Sierra Leone, an initiative of the Youth Partnership for Peace and Development together with partners like WaterAid and the government of Sierra Leone would from October 14th-15th, 2015 mark Global Handwashing Day by raising nationwide awareness on the importance of Handwashing especially as the country still grapples with the fight to end Ebola. The awareness campaign will also urge governments including citizens to sustain the good handwashing practice as it is one of the cheapest, simplest, but most effective tools in preventing the spread of WASH related diseases including diarrhoea, cholera, trachoma, respiratory tract infection, etc. and the fight against Ebola.
As part of WASH-Net’s plans, the event will be marked by series of Community and School Outreach programs involving social mobilizers and school health club leaders. The program will bring together key actors in the WASH sector including line Ministries, agencies, UN organizations, INGOs and LNGOs. This event will be climaxed with awareness raising at the national Stadium as a way to educate Flood Victims currently residing there as they await government’s action for relocation.
This year’s Global Handwashing Day follows the historic adoption of the new United Nations’ Global Goals on Sustainable Development for 2030. The goals, which were agreed on by 191 countries including Sierra Leone/Liberia contain a goal focused on access to water, sanitation and hygiene for all.
WASH-Net and WaterAid is calling on officials to “finish the job” and ensure an indicator on handwashing is included as a measure of progress for the goal on water and sanitation for all, to help achieve the full health benefits.
Chuchu Selma, Team Leader, WaterAid Transboundary (Liberia and Sierra Leone) Programme said: “Our school outreach and media engagements on Global Handwashing Day will help raise awareness of the importance of good hygiene practices for healthy, prosperous lives”.
Everyday across the world, 1,400 children under five die from diarrhoea caused by dirty water and poor sanitation and hygiene. We are now one step closer in ensuring such tragedy will be a thing of the past with the recent agreement of the Global Goals, which aim to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030.
“However, there is still work to be done to ensure the world delivers on the potential of these goals. WaterAid is calling for the vital role of handwashing to be included as an indicator for Goal 6, which works towards ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
Frequently overlooked, hygiene, and in particular handwashing, make a massive difference to the health and wellbeing of the global population. Furthermore, handwashing is recognized as one of the most cost-effective development interventions by the World Bank.
It is often said that we ‘treasure what we measure’. Given the importance of hygiene, we strongly encourage member states to include an indicator to measure handwashing.”
According to the World Health Organization, providing soap and improving hygiene practices can cut cases of diarrhoea by up to 53%.
According to Musa Ansumana Soko, WASH-Net’s Chairman stated that “Global Handwashing Day 2015 in Sierra Leone therefore is an advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an easy, effective, and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives as we sustain racing to Zero Ebola cases”.