Why you must wash your hands with soap

FOR many of us, washing our hands is a habit acquired in our early years we almost automatically connect it to our daily activities like using the bathroom, eating and preparing meals.

Although people around the world wash their hands with water, many do not use soap because it can be less accessible due to a number of reasons, even when it is available; many people have not developed a habit to use it.

On global scale, the hand washing habit has yet to completely be a vital thing in some circumstances, skipping hand washing is due to lack of awareness and understanding of its effectiveness in washing away illnessinducing germs and bacteria.

In other cases, it’s due to a scarcity of hand washing elements including soap and water. October 15 marks global Hand washing Day. This year theme was ‘Make Hand washing a Habit’ this day is dedicated to increase awareness and understanding about the importance of hand washing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.

To reach this goal, hand washing must be practiced at key times such as before preparing food or eating, after using the toilet or sneezing. Behaviour change is essential for making hand washing a habit.

The United Nations Children’s Fund works for children’s rights, survival, development and protection (UNICEF) global head of water, sanitation and hygiene, Mr Sanjay Wijesekera, said hand washing can cut diarrhoea cases by 40 per cent.

Diarrhoea is one of the leading causes of child death. “In 2015 more than 300,000 children under the age of five died globally from diarrhoeal infections linked to poor access to safe drinking water and sanitation a rate of more than 800 per day yet many of these deaths could have been prevented through the simple act of hand washing with soap,” he noted.

The day was also marked in Msinune Village, Kiwangwa Ward, Chalinze District in which JICA Alumni Association of Tanzania (JATA) prepared a special campaign to raise awareness amongst local communities about the benefits of hand washing with soap in diseases control.

JATA is an association which brings together all Tanzanians who participated in training programmes in Japan or in other countries under the sponsorship of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for bridging between Tanzania and Japanese people.

Principal Medical Officer in charge for Msoga Hospital, Dr Isack Mukungu, said many children in the district from time to time have been suffering from diarrhoea, cholera and typhoid as they do not wash hands with soap after visiting the toilet or latrine. “One of the challenges in our area is access to tap water thus make it difficult for people to wash their hands in hygienic way,” he said.

Dr Mukungu said some communities should consider using tippy tap hand washing method as it is so hygienic that would even qualify for surgeons, a foot-operated water dispenser in which you only touch the soap.

The Tippy Tap is a simple device made up of assembled local materials namely sticks, string and a gallon of water. It is powered by a foot lever and it is aimed at reducing chances of bacteria transmission as the user touches the soap.

He said when hand washing becomes a habit it becomes normal and you just do it without thinking it becomes routine particularly, with children, if you can make it a habit among children, it becomes something they keep for the rest of their lives and they pass it on to their children.

Kiwangwa Ward Executive Officer (WEO), Mr Tiko Mohamed, said some communities in the district have no access to clean water as they all depend on one source Wami-Ruvu river basin.

Mr Mohamed said water infrastructure were not even available in all schools in the ward something which make it difficult for children to develop the habit to wash their hands after attending restroom. JATA Vice Chairperson, Omar Kassim, said they commenced the campaign last year in a bid to prevent eruption of diseases such as cholera. “We once got an opportunity to study in Japan and learn a bit of their culture where every day is handscrubbing, mask-wearing day many Japanese got into the spirit,” he said.

Mr kassim further said many children in the country do not have access to safe water or the habit or means to wash their hands properly thus they wanted to tell the public, and in particular children, about the situation.

One of JATA members, Dr Rose Temu, said one should wash their hands for 20 seconds using liquid soap and clean water. “Wet your hands with clean, running water warm or cold, turn off the tap and apply soap.

Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds,” she elaborated Dr Temu said the simple but inexpensive behaviour of hand washing with soap can save many lives especially young children as they were most vulnerable to diseases such as cholera as bacteria spread through direct contact with the bacteria in stool when people don’t wash their hands after changing diapers or using the bathroom.

Expounding further she said it was high time for the subject to be inculcated in school curriculum for the exercise to become a habit in children lives. A villager, Juma Jabu, said they do not have access to clean water in their Ward thus become difficult to consider hand washing as a crucial thing.

“Hand washing to me is the last thing to consider even after coming from washroom and whenever I consider washing them I do not use soap,” he said. Chalinze District Executive Director, Mr Edes Lukoa, said their council was also implementing National Sanitation Campaign.

“Despite implementing that but hand washing is not well implemented as of April – June this year among 22,857 households only 6,345 equal to 28 per cent were having hand washing tools,” he said.

Mr Lukoa said in addressing these challenges investing in hygiene education and advocacy by sharing knowledge by transforming attitudes is very crucial.

Why you must wash your hands with soap Why you must wash your hands with soap Reviewed by on 5:11:00 AM Rating: 5

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