By Felix Oketcho
The mandatory washing of hands with soap during the Covid-19 pandemic has reduced water-related diseases like cholera, diarrhoea and typhoid, assistant commissioner for water supply in Ministry of Water and Environment Eng.Joseph Eyatu has revealed.
Addressing members of the Parliamentary Forum on Water, Sanitation and Environment at Hotel Africana today, Eyatu urged Members of Parliament to collaborate with government and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to push the advocacy in their constituencies.
“Before Covid-19 pandemic, handwashing with water and soap was stuck at 50% in urban areas but when it became mandatory because of the Covid-19, percentage of people washing hands has now risen to 61% while rural areas it’s at 38% to 40%,” he explained.
Moses Kabangi Commissioner for Health Services in the Ministry of Health backed up Eyatu’s revelation saying health care facilities have significantly reduced hospital-related infections since workers continuously practice handwashing.
He also added that hand washing during the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak resulted in a reduction in infant mortality rate due to a reduction in every birth infection for both mothers and infants.
Wandera Dickson a policymaker called for increased handwashing with soap campaigns in rural areas especially in communities still practising open defecation.
“Through regular handwashing with soap and water, there will be reduced expenditure on health treatments and reduced stunted growth of children under five years,” Wandera said.
Uganda will join the rest of the world to celebrate global handwashing day on October 15 under the theme; ‘Our future is at hand let’s move forward together.’
However, according to figures from the Ministry of Water and Environment, 8million Ugandans lack access to safe and clean water while 27million people do not have access to improved sanitation facilities. Globally there are 1.8billion people without access to clean water and sanitation.