Ceremony marks global washing hands day
HA NOI (VNS)– The health sector united on Saturday to call for people to wash their hands with soap every day in order to prevent disease at a ceremony held to mark Global Washing Hands Day.
The event, entitled "Clean hands save lives", was held by the Ministry of Health in partnership with the United Nations Fund for Children, the Unilever Foundation and Population Services International in Viet Nam.
"I would like to call relevant ministries and sectors to raise public awareness of washing hands with soap, turning the action into a habit towards improving the people's health", said deputy minister of health Nguyen Thanh Long at the event.
"If hand washing with soap becomes a standard practice, health experts estimate that child deaths could be reduced by as much as 35 per cent," said Long.
The health ministry said that despite significant improvements in child health indicators, preventable diseases like diarrhoea and hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) continue to contribute to child death in Viet Nam. It is estimated that 1 in every 10 deaths among Vietnamese children is due to diarrhoea.
At the event, Vice Chairman of the Unilever Foundation, Tran Vu Hoai, said that the foundation would continue with plans to grant VND50 billion for a 5-year project designed to strengthen community awareness of the importance of personal hygiene habits, especially washing hands with soap.
The Unilever-MoH-PSI project will target rural families with young children in the Mekong River Delta region to motivate people to treat water correctly and get into the habit of washing hands properly and regularly. The organisation's field-based staff will partner with Women's Union outreach workers to organise participatory community activities. They will distribute Lifebuoy soap, Safewat household water treatment solution and communication materials designed to promote related safer behaviours,
To mark Global Washing Hands Day, a roll of cloth measuring 2,000m in length and 3.5m in width has won the recognition of the Viet Nam Record Organisation for being imprinted with the largest number of fingerprints in the country. 119,000 prints were taken from supporters of the campaign to wash hands with soap.
The World Health Organisation has said that more than 2 million children world-wide lost their lives to diarrhoea and pneumonia last year. Although many people in Viet Nam and around the world wash their hands with water, very few wash their hands with soap at critical moments – such as after using the toilet or before preparing or eating food. – VNS