Hand-washing cuts diarrheal diseases by 35pc

Friday, October 16th, 2020 00:00 |

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The outbreak of coronavirus has reduced diarrheal diseases by 35 per cent due to the culture of handwashing and use of face masks, AMREF Kenya said yesterday.

Amref Health Africa Kenya Country Director Dr Meshack Ndirang’u speaking during the Global Handwashing Day said Covid-19 has changed the way people all over the world think about health.

“Handwashing alone reduces diarrhoeal diseases by 30 to 35 per cent and also reduces acute respiratory diseases by 20 percent.

We must rethink the steps we all need to take to protect ourselves, our families, our communities, and society as a whole,” said Ndirangu.

With the country already having recorded over 40,000 Covid positive cases and more than 700 deaths, Ndirangu said handwashing also reduces infection by 36 per cent.

Amref Health Africa CEO Githinji Gitahi said handwashing is the most neglected public health activity and there was a need for a behavioural change as it is the best shot to address communicable diseases.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) data published in 2018 Diarrhoeal diseases, deaths in Kenya reached 37,655 or 14.75 per cent of total deaths.

The age adjusted Death Rate was 154.37 per 100,000 of population hence Kenya ranked fourth in the world.

On her part, First Lady Margaret Kenyatta in a televised address emphasised the importance of hand hygiene as an effective way of preventing infections.

The First Lady said the simple act of frequently washing hands with water and soap saves lives by curbing the spread of viruses including the novel Coronavirus that has caused untold suffering to people.

“The Covid-19 pandemic provides a stark reminder that one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of viruses is also one of the simplest – through good hand hygiene, especially through hand washing with water and soap.

“Hand washing and hygiene have never been more topical or important than in our current situation,” the First Lady said.

The First Lady pointed out that the theme of this year’s Global Hand Washing Day, “Hand Hygiene for All’’, reinforced the political will and commitment for the provision of water to every Kenyan as part of the Government’s universal health agenda.

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