Each year, 1.7 million children under five die from preventable illnesses such as diarrhea and pneumonia globally. In Ghana diarrhea and pneumonia contribute to 13% and 17% of under-five deaths annually; and the country remains to be among the highest for under-five mortality. In Ghana today, about 70% of school children in basic schools do not have access to hand washing facilities. 60% of basic schools do not have latrines. 50% of the schools with latrines too do not have hand washing facilities.
Researchers have proved that handwashing with soap cuts the incidence of diarrhea by nearly half and pneumonia by a quarter. Handwashing with soap is affordable and simple, and also very effective in reducing the risk of illness and death from these diseases
The HAND is the primary entry point of any infection in to the body because with it we do almost everything. Handwashing with soap can prevent the transmission of a variety of pathogens into the human body that we contract through skin contact, food, and from using the toilet or cleaning a child which eventually cause fatal illnesses in children.
This simple behavior can save lives, cutting deaths from diarrhea by almost half and deaths from acute respiratory infections by nearly a quarter. Handwashing with soap can make a significant contribution to fulfilling the targets within the Sustainable Development Goals around child survival, nutrition, gender, equity, and education
With the outbreak of cholera in the country, hand washing practice has been one of the main line of defence against the spread of the infection and as a result this practice had significantly improved in the country. Global Hand Washing Day were focused on celebrating the results achieved so far, and also reinforcing the culture of hand washing with soap at critical times with children as the agents of change.
Ghana has over the years been working with a number of schools in its operational areas to improve access to clean water, sanitation and promoting good hygiene practices. Students from Yamfo Anglican schools in Brong-Ahafo participated in quizzes and demonstration of hand washing techniques in commemoration of the day.
The events on and before the day were directed towards raising awareness of pupils, teachers, Parent-Teachers Associations, School Management Committees and Ward Development Committees on the importance of hand-washing, the critical times and the techniques in order for them to act as agents of change in their communities.
International Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) day is commemorated globally on May 28 every year to raise awareness on preserving future women and girls through the adoption of hygienic practices of menstruation. This is within the framework of the United Nations International Year of WASH and menstrual hygiene connection, 2017.
SUDEF, Ghana, has since 2014 been engaging the Ghanaian community to commemorate menstrual hygiene day with preceding activities such as conduction of perception surveys, training needs analysis, training of teachers and medical staff; education of community members and students. A key strategy of partnering with the media has enabled information and lessons reached not only Ghanaians but the international world as well.
The 2017 edition engaged student girls of a second cycle school in one of the nation’s popular girls’ schools, Serwaa Kesse Girls Senior High School (SEKESS) in the Brong-Ahafo region.
Unique highlights on discussions included the introduction of a sanitary product to manage menstruation, the sanitary cup, such as Rubycup as used in Kenya and other countries. Students and the general public are eager to learn more about rubycup.
World Toilet Day is a day to take action. It is a day to raise awareness about all people who do not have access to a toilet – despite the human right to water and sanitation. It is a day to do something about it.
Of the world’s seven billion people, 2.4 billion people do not have improved sanitation. 1 billion people still defecate in the open. Poor sanitation increases the risk of disease and malnutrition, especially for women and children.
We cannot accept this situation Sanitation is a global development priority. This is why in 2013 the United Nations General Assembly officially designated November 19 as World Toilet Day. World Toilet Day is coordinated by UN-Water in collaboration with governments and relevant stakeholders.