“Ensure all communities across Ghana have access to safe water to practice safe handwashing” – WaterAid to gov’t

WaterAid Ghana (WAG) an international not-for-profit organisation working to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation has called on  government to as a matter of urgency ensure all communities across Ghana have access to safe water to practice hand hygiene to protect their lives against the scourge of COVID-19.

According to WAG frequent handwashing with soap and water is one of the most important and cost-effective ways of controlling the spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19. But unfortunately in some communities, high numbers of people do not have access to clean water close to their homes or a place to wash their hands.

The international not-for-profit organisation made the call through a release to mark this year’s World Water Day revealed that about 14% of Ghanaians use water from unsafe sources, 22% defecates in the open and 28% do not have facilities to practice basic hygiene such as handwashing with soap under running water.  (MICS 2017/ 18) This lack of facilities creates a higher risk of illness and disease transmission, including the spread of the coronavirus.

It noted that this year’s World Water Day is being marked under very tense circumstances, at a time when the world is struggling to overcome the menace of corona virus (COVID-19). This situation it said has compelled people to shift priorities to protecting their lives by practicing good hygiene to stay healthy and safe from the virus.

“WaterAid agrees with the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Director-General, Dr Tedros that now is the time “for all countries to invest in preparedness not panic”. Government must as a matter of urgency ensures all communities across Ghana have access to safe water to practice hand hygiene to protect their lives against the scourge of COVID-19.” It added.

It reiterated that handwashing is one of the simplest and most effective disease prevention methods available. It’s been shown to reduce cases of acute respiratory infection by 16-23%, 50% reduction in pneumonia and up to 48% reduction in risk of endemic diarrhoea.

WAG disclosed that healthcare centres globally need to deliver safe, quality care always. With necessary water, sanitation and hygiene facilities and practices, healthcare centres will be better placed to support delivery of safe, quality care everyday – and build resilience for responding to an outbreak such as the one we are currently experiencing across the globe.

It emphasised that with the availability of clean water, health care workers will be able to provide safer care to patients and protect themselves.

Meanwhile the Country Director of WaterAid Ghana, Mr Abdul Nashiru Mohammed has said “Government must back it’s hygiene campaigns with the needed water, sanitation and hygiene facilities to make it more practical.”

If everyone, everywhere had a place to wash their hands with soap and water as often as needed, and practiced good handwashing behaviours, it would go a long way towards helping to contain and prevent the spread of many diseases, including COVID-19. He maintained.

 

Below is unedited version of the press release.

 

                                                                                  PRESS RELEASE
21st March 2020

It is time to invest in preparedness and not panic

This year’s World Water Day is being marked under very tense circumstances, at a time when the world is struggling to overcome the menace of corona virus (COVID-19). This situation has compelled people to shift priorities to protecting their lives by practicing good hygiene to stay healthy and safe from the virus. WaterAid agrees with the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Director-General, Dr Tedros, that now is the time “for all countries to invest in preparedness not panic”10. Government must as a matter of urgency ensure all communities across Ghana have access to safe water to practice hand hygiene to protect their lives against the scourge of COVID-19.

Frequent handwashing with soap and water is one of the most important and cost-effective ways of controlling the spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19. But in some communities, high numbers of people do not have access to clean water close to their homes or a place to wash their hands. About 14% of Ghanaians use water from unsafe sources, 22% defecate in the open and 28% do not have facilities to practice basic hygiene such as handwashing with soap under running water.  (MICS 2017/ 18) This lack of facilities creates a higher risk of illness and disease transmission, including the spread of the coronavirus.

Handwashing is one of the simplest and most effective disease prevention methods available. It’s been shown to reduce cases of acute respiratory infection by 16-23%7, 50% reduction in pneumonia and up to 48% reduction in risk of endemic diarrhoea.

Healthcare centres globally need to deliver safe, quality care always. With necessary water, sanitation and hygiene facilities and practices, healthcare centres will be better placed to support delivery of safe, quality care everyday – and build resilience for responding to an outbreak such as we are experiencing across the globe. With the availability of clean water, health care workers will be able to provide safer care to patients and protect themselves.   Country Director of WaterAid Ghana, Abdul Nashiru Mohammed said, “Government must back it’s hygiene campaigns with the needed water, sanitation and hygiene facilities to make it more practical.”

If everyone, everywhere had a place to wash their hands with soap and water as often as needed, and practiced good handwashing behaviours, it would go a long way towards helping to contain and prevent the spread of many diseases, including COVID-19.

 

END
Further resources

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10P3sMuydVs

https://washmatters.wateraid.org/blog/handwashing-with-soap-why-should-we-care
For more information, please contact: The Head of Policy, Advocacy and Campaign, George Yorke on 0209985760 or the Communications and Campaign Officer, Yvonne Kafui Nyaku on 0209989518

 

 

 

Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH

Writer’s email: franklinadonkoh@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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