Bopolu, Gbarpolu County – A ninth-grade student of Bopolu Central High School has reminded his colleagues and residents of the health benefits of making hand washing a constant practice.
Othello K. Kowah made the call at a hand washing day event on October 16 at the Bopolu Central High School in Gbarpolu County.
“I would like to call on all my colleagues and the public to make hand washing a habit at these critical times before eating, preparing food, after using the latrines and changing baby diapers,” Kowah said.
The program, held in observance of Global Hand Washing Day, recalled the dreadful events of the Ebola outbreak in the county when hand washing was a means of preventing the killer virus.
Global Hand Washing day, held October 15 every year since 2008, highlights hygiene practices globally. It helps increase awareness and understanding about the importance of hand washing with soap and clean water as an effective and affordable way to prevent disease.
This year celebration in Gbarpolu County began with a parade by students of various schools, local government official, and residents.
Later during an indoor program at the Bopolu Central High School, students performed dramas depicting the importance of hand washing.
UNICEF, WASH Consortium, civil society organizations, NGOs, companies, and communities endorsed the celebration.
According to the day’s orator, Liberia was amongst 73 countries that celebrate the first global hands washing day on October 15 in 2008. He said more than 15,000 children in 80 schools across the country started washing their hands with soap on school days.
“Every year pneumonia and diarrhea killed14 million children under five years. In Liberia more than 17% – 6,500 cases of death of children under five are attributed to diarrhea in 2011 alone,” Kowah said, adding that hand washing protects people and help them remain healthy and stronger.
“Global hand washing day provides the opportunity to celebrate, advocate for and raise awareness of the importance of handwashing with soap. It is a promoter of national, local and global action,” he said.
Augustine Saye, the county environmental health coordinator, thanked UNICEF and the Ministry of Education for supporting the event and said such event is “part of the government resilient health system plan”.
He assured that hand washing facility will always be available at all the health facilities in the county.
“Let me inform you that since EBOLA is gone, we are still washing hands at our health facilities. So, you too must wash your hands before and after visiting the hospital or clinic or caring for a sick person. In short, always wash your hands at every moment of your daily activities so that you can keep been healthy and happy,” Saye said.
Madam Julia Moore, who spoke on behalf of Unicef, admonished students and residents to properly maintain and make use of the hand washing stations on the school campus.
Augustine Martin Kuleh, Assistant Minister for Student Personnel Services at the MoE, called for continuing partnership with MOH and UNICEF for effective school health programs.
During the event, residents promised to avoid defecating in open places. They also promised to promote hand washing as a means of preventing diseases.
Report By: Henry B. Gboluma