By Gifty Amofa/Priscilla Nkrumah, GNA
Accra, Oct. 17, GNA – Mrs Samira Bawumia, the
Second Lady, has urged children to cultivate the habit of washing their hands
regularly to reduce the spread of preventable diseases.
Describing it as a “Do it yourself vaccine,”
she said, if it was done before meals and after visiting the toilets, hand
washing would help eliminate diarrhoea and other respiratory diseases.
She was addressing the Global Hand washing Day
held in Accra on Monday, on the theme: “Clean hands, a recipe for health.” It was attended by selected schools in the
She said the about 1.4 million children under
five who died worldwide annually from diarrhoea and pneumonia could have been
saved by ensuring simple hygienic behaviour such as hand washing.
The Second Lady said washing the hands with
soap under running water was the effective and affordable way to prevent
diseases and commended Unilever-Ghana for organising the programme with support
from the Netherlands to increase awareness and understanding, among especially,
children and women.
As managers of the home, women formed part of
every meal from preparation to consumption, thus, it was in the right direction
that they were involved in the process, she added.
She urged the children to be ambassadors in
their communities by sharing the information with friends and family.
Mrs Bawumia pledged that the Samira
Empowerment and Humanitarians Project would partner Unilever to empower society
and guarantee better lives for the citizenry on good hygiene practices.
Mr Ronald Strikker, the Netherlands Ambassador
to Ghana, noted that the benefit of hand washing was good as it was part of the
Sustainable Development Goals six (SDGs 6), which ensured the provision of
water and sanitation (toilets).
He said Ghana did not provide enough of the
clean and safe drinking water expected under the goal six and urged Ghana to
get that as it was lagging behind when it came to provision of potable water
and sanitation for its people.
However, he promised that Netherlands would
support government so that thousands of Ghanaians would have access to proper
sanitation and clean water under the Ghana-Netherlands WASH (Water, Sanitation
and Hygiene) Programme.
The Dutch Government had committed 18 million
Euros as part of the Private Sector Partnership to improve water and
sanitation, change behaviour by encouraging children to regularly wash their
hands, saying, 16 of such projects were ongoing and 240 schools in Ghana were
Mr Yeo Ziobeieton, the Managing Director for
Unilever, called for support against Diarrhoea, the third leading cause of
death among children, which was related to unsafe drinking water and poor
Unilever a result, had introduced the Hi-Five
campaign aimed at sensitising children, especially, on hand washing and had
educated eight million children for the past years on hand washing and brushing
their teeth daily.
Mr Patrick Yaw Boamah, Deputy Minister for
Sanitation and Water Resources and Madam Barbara Ayisi, Deputy Minister for
Education, pledged their support for the Hi-Five campaign and other projects.
There were drama, music and dance to promote
hygiene among the pupils and students’ environment.
Buckets, cups and a quantity of soap were
donated to the Ghana Health Service and Ghana Education Service to encourage
hand washing among Ghanaians.
Also in attendance were Mrs Tina Mensah,
Deputy Minister for Health, Madam Cynthia Morrison, Minister Designate, Gender,
Children and Social Protection, Religious and Traditional leaders, among