(Africa Wire) The Global Hand Washing Day (GHWD) campaign which is celebrated annually across the globe on the 15 October, is this year, 2020, geared to intensify the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. In the Northern Cape, the Department of Water and Sanitation has scheduled a number of visits to schools and clinics in various municipalities to raise awareness about the importance of washing hands with soap.
“Safely managed water and sanitation facilities, and the consistent practice of personal hygiene, are effective ways to prevent infectious disease outbreaks including the coronavirus,” says acting Provincial Head of the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) in the Northern Cape, Kobus Streuders.
“The campaign (GHWD) and its core message of washing hands with soap, comes at an excellent time when we are fighting against the coronavirus. Washing hands with soap, used together with social distancing have emerged as a powerful tool to combat the COVID-19. That is why we have as the DWS, installed 884 water tanks, 13 hand wash facilities and distributed over 100 000 health and hygiene products throughout the Northern Cape to ensure that people can protect themselves against the coronavirus.”
This year’s theme, Clean Hands for All, follows the push to leave no one behind in the Sustainable Development Agenda. It follows the recent global initiative calling on all society to scale up hand hygiene, especially through handwashing with soap, it reminds us to be inclusive when addressing handwashing disparities, so as to enable all to protect themselves from the coronavirus, but also other diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, and typhoid.
Although data shows the number of coronavirus infections in South Africa is gradually slowing down, the country is not out of the woods yet. The Department of Health has suggested that a second wave is possible if citizens become complacent.
This campaign (GHWD) should be used to reinforce messages to encourage all South Africans to practice good hand hygiene.