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CONIWAS calls for sustained advocacy on handwashing with soap

By Franklin ASARE-DONKOH

The coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in Water and Sanitation (CONIWAS) has called for collective efforts by all stakeholders to continue the advocacy on hand washing with soap for the promotion of healthy living.

The call was contained in a statement signed by its Executive Secretary, Madam Basilia Nanbigne, to commemorate the 2022 World Handwashing Day.

CONOWAS is worried about what it says is a sharp decline in hand washing as the COVID-19 pandemic declines.

“In 2020, the whole world rallied around hand hygiene as one of the effective ways to prevent COVID-19 infections. There was an increase in hand washing practises globally and in Ghana as well. Individuals, entrepreneurs, and various organisations in the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) sector and beyond promoted hand hygiene differently. (e.g., through enforcement, the practice of handwashing, sensitisation, and manufacturing of facilities, among others). As the fear of the pandemic declines, however, so has the practice of hand hygiene, unfortunately, declined as well,” Madam Nanbigne reiterated.

The Coalition also used the occasion to call on the government and other partners to remember those who still have no access to water to enable them to practice hand washing.

“There are still many communities, healthcare facilities, and schools that still lack access to potable water. To ensure we achieve and enjoy any gains in the practice of hand washing, we must ensure that no one is left behind in access to safe water. In so doing, we can gracefully celebrate any gains we make in hand washing practice. Therefore, let’s unite so that everyone has access to water for universal hand hygiene,” it said.

CONIWAS is happy that a national strategy for hand hygiene is being developed by the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources (MSWR). Once completed, it will provide the strategic direction for hand hygiene interventions, ensure institutional mechanisms are clear and functioning, deepen sectorial coordination, and strengthen systems. This, coupled with access to water, will triple our gains in hand washing, a portion of the statement read.

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