Food vendors in Goaso the regional capital of the newly created Ahafo region have resolved to pursue clean Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) even if it will take breaking a cultural believe for a moment.
At a stakeholders meeting ahead of the Global Hand Washing Day celebration organized by the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA), the food vendors identify the practice of collecting money with same hands used to touch foods they sell as unhealthy.
Even though it is culturally unacceptable among many native Ghanaians to offer things to people with the left hand, the food vendors some of whom are queen mothers observed that it is not advisable to follow the cultural dictate by using same hands to touch money and the food being sold.
“I am a chop bar operator and what we use to do is that the same hand we use to collect monies is the same hand we use to touch fufu’ the Anlohemaa of Goaso observed.
They ensure that their customers feel respected when collecting or giving monies to them in the left hand, the women have decided to always apologize to the customer to indicate their believe tradition but also the need for a clean hand.
They also decided to seize such opportunities to educate the customers on the need for clean hands.
“Another option will be that the food vendors can dedicate a trusted person to be in charge of the collection of monies” some participants suggested.
The stakeholders drawn from all spheres of water users including chiefs, the clergy, hair dressers, the Fire Service and market women were taken through the importance of hand washing and simple ways to setup hand washing facilities. Some selected schools in the Goaso municipality were also trained to fix the tippy tap as part of preparations towards the national celebration of the Global Handwashing day in the region.
Ghana has realized a 30% increase in handwashing practices, but in spite of the gains in increased handwashing, report by the UNICEF indicates that more than 10,000 children in Ghana die each year from preventable diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia. However, Handwashing could reduce these diseases up to 50%, yet less than 15% of Ghanaian households have handwashing facilities.
The Global Hand washing Day is therefore a global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of hand washing with soap under running water as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases.
This year’s Global Hand washing celebration will be under the theme, ‘ Clean Hands for All’
The Deputy regional minister for the Ahofo region, Benjamin Yeboah Sekyere addressing the stakeholders meeting noted that the choice of the region to host the Global Hand Washing Day could not have come better than this time when the region needs to set the standard for a health living.
Playing host to the Global Hand Washing Day celebration in Ghana he said would go a long way to creating a positive mindset on hand washing in the region.
Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
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