October 15th, is celebrated as the Global Hand washing Day worldwide. Different events, awareness raising seminars and advocacy campaigns are organised. This year the day is globally celebrated under the theme “Our Future is at Hand, Let’s move forward together” which aims
to create awareness, importance and to promote hand washing with soap to prevent the spread of diseases and consequently saving lives. The COVID – 19 pandemic provides an important reminder that hand hygiene is a fundamental component to health and development.
On 15 October 2021, Global Handwashing Day was celebrated by AWARE, at Village Dhaki Daharof Tehsil Chachro, Tharparkar. The event was aimed to raise awareness about the importance of handwashing with soaps and familiarize the community for hand washing at critical times for the prevention of different diseases, especially COVID-19.
The AWARE team representative Murtaza Jokhio said: “Global Handwashing Day is celebrated to increase the awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap is an effective and affordable way to prevent disease and save lives.” Further he said: “Diseases are spread through unhygienic hands and open defecation so we need to change our behaviors towards hygienic conditions as we can save our children’s lives.”
Mr. Dessar, a local community activist said that pandemic had made life worst for almost all our old age peoples who are especially vulnerable to COVID-19 disease. Further he shared: “we have no routine practice of hand washing at homes due to lack of awareness. Most of people do open defecation and use unhygienic things in daily routine.” Further added:“We were uninformed before AWARE intervention; such gatherings gave us lot of knowledge.”
Mr. Atta shared the background and origin of Global Hand Washing Day, and the benefits of washing hand. He added that practice of hand washing with soap in routine life can prevent the disease transmission. “Mostly diseases are created from unclean hands so the reason children suffer especially from diarrheal and other diseases. In COVID-19 pandemic diseases, doctor suggest that keep hand washing practice to kill the bacteria and its only way to prevent the disease and save lives.”
Mr Rajab gave demonstration about the handwashing steps and briefly explained to the community that hand washing with soap at critical times is very simple and cost-effective solution, hand washing with soap can reduce the incidence of diarrheal rates among children under five by almost 50 percent, and respiratory infections by nearly 25 percent.
Ms Farhat fairy explained the community through triggering methods and game to sensitize them regarding the use of unhygienic foods, water and OD. She further added: “Celebration of Global Hand washing Day is entry for communities towards awareness about the importance of soap and how we can improve the healthy life with behavior change communication”. She ended by the statement: “Make Hand Washing a Habit”.
Ms Nusrat shared that, the most prevailing motivators for hand washing with soap habit are mothers; if they want everything will be perfect; “There is a need to this type of initiatives and taking interest and owning as well as opted best practices in terms of proper and timely hand washing with soap practices at house hold level.”
Over 3.5 million children under the age of five are dying every year from diarrhea and pneumonia-related diseases globally. The community has shown enthusiasm in conveying this message. In last Rajo Bheel, Ramchand, Gulab, Narain, Hargan and other shared their views and remarks on the occasion of Global Hand washing Day celebration and collective action plan was also developed to work together over the next two to three years to improve their behavior change and create all the possibilities. The event ended on a positive note.