The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

World Hand Hygiene Day: Promoting clean hands for a healthier future

Every year on May 5th, the world comes together to observe World Hand Hygiene Day. This global initiative aims to raise awareness about the importance of hand hygiene in healthcare settings and beyond, emphasizing its crucial role in preventing the spread of infections and improving overall public health. Hand hygiene plays a critical role in preventing the spread of infectious diseases, including respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, and healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). In a country like Afghanistan, where infectious diseases pose a significant health burden, promoting hand hygiene is essential for protecting the health and well-being of its population. One of the primary challenges to promoting hand hygiene in Afghanistan is access to clean water and sanitation facilities. According to UNICEF, only 27% of the population in Afghanistan has access to basic hand-washing facilities with soap and water. In rural areas, where the majority of the population resides, access to clean water and sanitation remains even more limited, making it difficult for people to practice good hand hygiene. In healthcare settings, hand hygiene is particularly critical, as healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) pose a significant threat to patient safety. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), HAIs affect hundreds of millions of patients worldwide every year, leading to prolonged hospital stays, increased healthcare costs, and even death in some cases. Proper hand hygiene among healthcare workers is essential for preventing the transmission of pathogens between patients and reducing the risk of HAIs. Despite these challenges, efforts to promote hand hygiene in Afghanistan have been underway, with various organizations working to raise awareness and improve access to hand-washing facilities. In recent years, initiatives such as the installation of hand-washing stations in schools and health facilities, community education programs, and the distribution of hygiene kits have helped increase awareness about the importance of hand hygiene and provided resources to facilitate its practice. The theme for World Hand Hygiene Day 2024, “Seconds Save Lives – Clean Your Hands!” resonates strongly in the context of Afghanistan, where simple actions such as washing hands with soap and water can have a profound impact on preventing the spread of infectious diseases. Encouraging individuals to make hand hygiene a priority, especially before eating, after using the bathroom, and after caring for someone who is sick, can help reduce the burden of infectious diseases in Afghanistan. In addition to promoting hand hygiene, World Hand Hygiene Day also provides an opportunity to recognize the dedication and hard work of healthcare workers who play a vital role in keeping our communities safe and healthy. Healthcare workers around the world deserve our gratitude and support for their tireless efforts. Community engagement and education are also essential components of efforts to promote hand hygiene in Afghanistan. By working with local communities, religious leaders, and schools to raise awareness about the importance of hand hygiene and provide practical guidance on how to practice it, we can empower individuals to take control of their health and well-being. As we commemorate World Hand Hygiene Day in Afghanistan, let us reaffirm our commitment to promoting hand hygiene as a fundamental pillar of public health. By investing in infrastructure, raising awareness, and empowering communities to prioritize hand hygiene, we can create healthier and more resilient communities across Afghanistan. Remember, every second counts – clean your hands for a healthier future! Mohammad Nabi

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.