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 “Exactly ten years ago since the Global Handwashing Day was launched, Ghana has realized a 30% increase in handwashing practices,” according to Ing. Worlanyo Siabi, Chief Executive of the Community Water and Sanitation Agency. He went on to explain that despite these gains in increased handwashing, communities in Ghana still have a long way to go. According to UNICEF, more than 10,000 children in Ghana die each year from preventable diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia. Handwashing could reduce these diseases up to 50%, yet less than 15% of Ghanaian households have handwashing facilities.

That is why this year’s theme for Global Handwashing Day—Clean Hands, a Recipe for Health—is so important. Global Handwashing Day is dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.

With support from USAID and Global Communities, the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources commemorated the day at Agbogloshie market. Located in the heart of Accra, the market is one of the city’s major trading centers and notorious for its unsanitary conditions. Madam Cecilia Dapaah, the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, and other speakers took the opportunity to drum home the importance of handwashing to market vendors, the majority of whom are food handlers. 

Students taking turns to demonstrate effective handwashing

 

Other speakers included Mr. Mohammed Adjei Sowah, the Chief Executive of Accra Metropolitan Assembly, as well as representatives from USAID and Global Communities. The Minister stressed on the need to “adopt the habit of automatic hand washing at critical times.” 

Kitchen staff and pupils at the Tema event

At the same time, a similar event was taking place at the Manhean Anglican Primary in Tema.  Dr. Nana A. Konadu Darko, the Senior Medical Officer of Manhean Health Center, reminded the school kitchen staff about the importance of hygiene in reducing the spread of infections.

Skit by Agbogbloshie market vendors

Both events featured skits and plays extolling the importance of handwashing and hygiene performed by vendors and students. In Agbogbloshie, Global Communities was recognized for its consistent supporter of handwashing promotion. In Tema the day culminated with a chorus of students singing a song about handwashing.

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