Home | News    Sunday 17 October 2010

South Sudan pledges to double efforts improve general hygiene

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By Ngor Arol Garang & Bonifacio Taban Kuich

October 15, 2010 (JUBA – BENTIU) - Authorities from the semi autonomous government of southern Sudan on Friday pledged to double efforts to improve general hygiene across the region.

Peter Maal, a representative of the government of southern Sudan from ministry of cooperative and rural development, pledged commitment of his government to improve public hygiene.

Maal was speaking at the celebration of global hand washing function organized by UNICEF and held at Juba One Girl’s Primary School on Friday.

Washing hands regularly with soap and water is one of the simplest, most affordable and effective ways of preventing disease and saving lives, said Maal.

The official said the global day reminds efforts of the government to remain committed to spearheading campaigns in collaboration with UNICEF, community organizations, and private partners, to reach out to millions of Sudanese, especially women and children who constitutes majority of the population in both rural and urban areas.

He said South Sudan in collaboration with UNICEF joined the worldwide event with the aim to turn hand washing into a regular habit well beyond the celebrations, and instill this life-saving practice in the hearts and minds of communities in Sudan.

“Even though they are the most vulnerable, children are also the most inclined to learn, and they are quick to adopt new habits,” says Nils Kastberg, UNICEF Representative in Sudan.

“Getting children involved in hand washing promotion is a great opportunity to make them aware of the health benefits of regular hand washing. And it helps children develop positive behaviors that will help them and others fight disease and stay healthy,” he added.

He said UNICEF is actively promoting hand washing as a regular and essential routine by organizing activities all across Sudan to raise awareness about the benefits of regular hand washing as a positive habit, and about the need to ensure that schools, hospitals, and communities have the support needed to make hand washing a regular practice.

In Unity State capital Bentiu, the day was celebrated under the theme: “Clean hands save lives”.

Christine Ochieng the UNICEF project officer of the greater Upper Nile, told Sudan Tribune on Friday the aim was to educate the children on how to wash their hands with soap after visiting the toilet.
Ochieng said, the world is targeting 2015 to have more latrines in all schools.

She further added that the reason of washing hands after visited toilets is to kill germs which cannot be seen unless with microscope.

The state Minister of Health Mrs. Teresa Kur Manyiel, said that her Ministry will promote hygiene in the various School every Monday from October 19, 2010 in Unity State.

Deputy governor of Unity state William Dawuot Riak, welcomed the greater role of the International NGO’s in facilitating the world wide day to help the government pass a strong message to people in the state.

UNICEF believes that more than 300,000 children in Sudan under the age of five die from preventable diseases such as acute watery diarrhea or respiratory infections each year.

Washing hands with soap and water especially at critical times –after using the toilet and before handling food - helps reduce the incidence of diarrheal disease by more than 40 per cent. Despite these obvious benefits, hand washing is not practiced regularly in Sudan or in many other developing countries.

Global Hand Washing Day underscores the importance of hand washing regularly with soap and water as one of the most effective and affordable health interventions.

Over the next few days, UNICEF in collaboration with government of southern Sudan and community organizations and private partners, will take that message to playgrounds and schools, community centers and hospitals, public spaces and households through radio, TV, and even mobile phones, he explained.

He said more than 70,000 children in over 160 schools in Kassala, Gedaref, Blue Nile, South and North Kordofan, Abyei as well as the three areas in Darfur, will participate in activities such as drama and poetry plays about hand washing.

More than 600,000 people in hundreds of communities will also participate in promotion activities such as parades, community meetings and exhibitions.

Radio and TV messages on the importance of hand washing will be transmitted to reach more than 3.5 million people all across the country while mobile phone companies like Zain will send SMS messages about hand washing to subscribers on 14 and 15 October.

UNICEF will also provide hand washing facilities and distribute soap in schools, community centers, and other public spaces, explained Kastberg.

Over the next few days, more than 30,000 children will participate in diverse activities in schools and hospitals in all 10 states in the south.

Media campaigns on the importance of hand washing are also expected to reach more than 3.2 million people, he adds.

(ST)

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