The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.
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Global Handwashing Day under the theme of ‘clean hands protect lives’ celebrated in Kabul

International Handwashing Day under the theme of ‘Clean hands safe lives’ has been celebrated by the Ministry of Public Health in the capital Kabul to improve hygiene among the people, particularly the children. The Ministry of Public Health in a statement called cleanliness as a part of faith and called washing hands with soap essential in controlling and preventing communicable diseases. Every year, 1.7 million children do not live to celebrate their fifth birthday because of diarrhea and pneumonia. Handwashing with soap is among the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diarrheal diseases and pneumonia. This simple behavior can save lives, cutting deaths from diarrhea by almost one-half and deaths from acute respiratory infections by nearly onequarter. 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. The Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing initiated the first Global Handwashing Day on October 15, 2008, mobilizing 120 million children in 73 countries across five continents to wash their hands with soap. Today it is endorsed and commemorated by a wide array of governments, international institutions, civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), private companies, and individuals around the globe. A single gram of human feces can contain 10 million viruses and one million bacteria. These pathogens originate in human feces and are passed from an infected person to a new one through skin contact, food, and other routes. Handwashing with soap after contact with fecal material from using the toilet or cleaning a child prevents the transmission of the bacteria, viruses, and protozoa that cause diarrheal diseases. Because handwashing can prevent the transmission of a variety of pathogens, it may be more effective than any single vaccine. Studies have found that children living in households where there is active handwashing promotion and available soap have half the rates of diarrhea compared to children. Promoted on a wide enough scale, handwashing with soap can be thought of as a “do-it-yourself vaccine” because it is easy, effective, and affordable. A review of more than 30 studies found that handwashing with soap cuts the incidence of diarrhea by nearly half. Diarrheal diseases are often described as water-related but more accurately should be known as excreta-related, as the germs come from fecal matter. These germs make people ill when they enter the mouth via hands that have been in contact with feces, contaminated drinking water, unwashed raw food, unwashed utensils, or smears on clothes. Handwashing with soap breaks the cycle. The figure on the right shows the effectiveness of handwashing with soap for reducing deaths due to diarrhea in comparison to other interventions. Acute respiratory infections like pneumonia are the leading cause of death in children under the age of five. Evidence suggests that better handwashing practices washing hands with soap after defecation and before eating could cut the infection rate by 25 percent. The full effect might turn out to be even bigger; a recent study in Pakistan found that handwashing with soap reduced the number of pneumonia-related infections in children under the age of five by more than 50 percent. Handwashing promotion is extremely cost-effective when compared with other frequently funded health interventions. Everyone can improve their own health by washing hands with soap, especially after using the toilet and before touching food. One person’s clean hands prevent disease transmission to others. A whole family’s clean hands can significantly improve the family’s health and reduce the incidence of common illnesses. An entire classroom, office, or community with clean hands effectively stops the disease in its tracks. Everyone, from young to old, can wash their hands and develop the habit of washing at critical moments, such as after going to the toilet and before handling food or eating. Feda Mohammad

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.