Global Handwashing Day Aims to Save Lives
“Children deserve a better environment and higher standards of living,” said the Minister of Public Health and Sanitation, Honorable Beth Mugo. She made these remarks during the Kenya Global Handwashing Day to appreciate the important role handwashing with soap plays in promoting good hygienic and sanitation practices.
The Kenya Global Handwashing Day event took place on Monday, 15 October, 2012 at the Ruringu Stadium in Nyeri town. The event was aimed at ‘helping more children reach their 5th birthday.’
Over thirteen thousand school-going children attended the event and took part in a handwashing exercise to sensitize children about the importance of washing their hands with soap.
According to the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, Kenya loses 30,000 lives through diarrhea each year and 16 percent of these deaths are children below the age of five years.
USAID health programs are addressing hygiene and water sanitation problems by partnering with the Government of Kenya and other development partners. They are aiming at improving access to safe water, improved hygiene and sanitation services.
One of such programs is the AIDS, Population and Health Integrated Assistance (APHIAplus) Kamili which has strengthened access to water and sanitation for school-going children in Nyeri and Thika counties. The program has donated 17 water tanks with the capacity of 1000 litres each to schools to improve access to safe water and promote good hygiene. On Global Hand washing day Community Health Workers visited these schools to teach the importance of hand washing. The APHIAplus Kamili project is also helping communities in Makueni and Machakos counties to improve access to safe water.
It is through such programs that USAID is able to work towards significantly reducing deaths among Kenyan children below the age of five. By investing in better sanitation and hygiene, USAID is creating conditions where our assistance will no longer be necessary.
Story by Linda Musiime