Proper handwashing may save the lives of 800 children a day worldwide

UN News Centre | 14 October 2016 | 0 comments

Syrian children follow along during a handwashing demonstration at a school in Domiz Camp for Syrian refugees in Dohuk Governorate, Iraq. Photo: UNICEF/Chris Niles

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On the eve of Global Handwashing Day, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has reported that more than 300,000 children under the age of five died last year due to diarrhoeal infections linked to a lack of safe drinking water and sanitation – a rate of 800 per day that could have been prevented by proper handwashing.

In a news release, Sanjay Wijesekera, UNICEF’s global head of water, sanitation and hygiene said: “Every year, 1.4 million children are dying from largely preventable diseases like pneumonia and diarrhoea,” numbers, he says, that “could be greatly reduced by working with children and families to adopt a very straightforward solution – handwashing.”

Handwashing with soap before meals and after toilet use has been shown to reduce diarrhoeal infections by 40 per cent, said UNICEF.

Moreover, handwashing not only reduces the rate of infection, but also keeps children in school, as are not staying home due to illness. Mr. Wijesekera calls it “a frontline preventive measure.”

Read more. (UN News Centre)

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