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Free soap may help control HFM disease

Update: July, 20/2012 - 10:42

DA NANG — The central city of Da Nang's health department has provided free soap to households to try and curb an outbreak of hand-foot-mouth (HFM) disease.

Director of the city's Preventive Medicine Centre Ton That Thanh confirmed yesterday that 2,333 children in 56 communes and precincts in the city had contracted the disease since January, one of whom died on February 9 as a result.

"We targeted areas of the city worst affected by the outbreak, and educated local people about the importance of washing their hands," Thanh said.

Soap, which is recommended by experts from the Ministry of Health, is an effective way to prevent hand-foot-mouth disease, cholera and diarrhoea, the director told Viet Nam News.

"It's simple, but many parents are unaware they should be cleaning their hands with soap and clean water every day. I'm sure that most kids are well protected against HFM disease if their parents clean their hands with soap," Thanh explained.

Thanh said that people needed to get into the habit of washing their hands with soap after they have been to the toilet and before meals.

"We send staff to give instructions and deliver leaflets to local people about the effectiveness of cleaning their hands with soap. We also try to encourage people to keep the environment clean to prevent diseases from spreading."

The city health department has reserved VND300 million (US$14,000) to provide free soap for the last six months of this year.

Vice director of the city's Paediatrics and Obstetrics Hospital Le Thi Thanh Xuan stressed that kids under five years old were most at risk from the disease.

Hand-foot-mouth disease and dengue fever outbreaks usually occur in September and November.- VNS

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