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Bangladeshi students lead by example on Global Handwashing Day

  • Published at 08:13 pm October 15th, 2019
world hand washing day
Children give comittment to wash hands with soap by raising their hands at Residential Model School & College in Dhaka's Mohammadpur area on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 Dhaka Tribune

The country is well ahead in achieving WASH SDGs

Bangladesh has celebrated the Global Handwashing Day 2019 with nearly 7.5 million students from 59,631 government primary schools washing their hands with soap across the country.

The main program, jointly organized by Local Government Division (LGD), Department of Primary Education and Unicef, was held at Residential Model School & College in Dhaka's Mohammadpur area on Tuesday.

Studies show handwashing with water and soap is the most cost-effective health intervention to reduce both the incidence of diarrhea and pneumonia in children under five.

Handwashing with soap at critical times - including before eating or preparing food and after using the toilet – can reduce diarrhea rates by more than 40% and incidence of acute respiratory infections (ARIs) by around 23%.

Global Handwashing Day is a global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as it is fundamental to good health and development.

Deepa Khondker (Right) handed over a handwash to a child as a gift at Residential Model School & College in Dhaka's Mohammadpur area on Tuesday, October 15, 2019 Dhaka Tribune

The day is an opportunity to design, test, and replicate creative ways to encourage people to wash their hands with soap at critical times. Since 2008, the day is celebrated every year on October 15th.

The theme of this year is --clean hands for all -- and it follows the push towards leaving no one behind in the Sustainable Development Agenda.

Inequalities in handwashing facilities and lack of effective handwashing promotion programs can put individuals at higher risk for diseases that impact their health, education, and economic outcomes.

Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives Md Tazul Islam; State Minister for Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development & Cooperatives Swapan Bhattacharjee; Secretary of Local Government Division Helal Uddin Ahmed; Representative of Unicef Bangladesh Tomoo Hozumi;  Additional Secretary of Local Government Division Md Zahirul Islam; Additional Director General of Directorate of Primary Education Md Abdul Mannan; and Chief Engineer of Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE) Md Saifur Rahman were present on the occasion.

Sustainable Development Goals

It was emphasized during the event that Bangladesh is well ahead in achieving WASH SDGs [Water, Sanitation and Hygiene - Sustainable Development Goals].

To sustain the gains and to improve the current situation of hand washing behavior, it needs to be ensured that everyone, everywhere has access to hand washing facilities with soap and water.

These include populations in urban and rural areas, people across all financial status, vulnerable groups such as the elderly and people with disabilities, marginalized groups such as indigenous and displaced populations, and schools, health facilities, and workplaces in addition to households.