The second lady of the republic of Ghana, Mrs Matilda Amissah-Arthur has described hand washing with soap as a simple and inexpensive act that saves lives from many deadly diseases, including diarrhea and other related diseases. She said that as a mother, she appreciates the positive impact of hand washing with soap on all people, especially children and women. She added that one woman with a contaminated hand could affect the whole family. She stressed that promoting health and dignity through Hand washing with soap is a sure step to reducing deaths of children especially under five years in Ghana. Mrs Amissah-Arthur was speaking at the 5th anniversary celebrations of the Global Hand Washing Day in Ghana under the theme, “5 years of Global Hand washing day celebration: going beyond the 5th birthday of children”, held at the Efua Sutherland’s children’s pack in Accra.
The minister for Water Resources Works and Housing, Hon. E.T Mensah, said it is general knowledge that prevention is better than cure, therefore in increasing awareness, all ministries and agencies must put pragmatic plans in place in order to promote hand washing with soap. He also advised doctors and other health practitioners to consider hand washing with soap as part of daily screening of patience; and ended that healthy people make a healthy nation.
The minister for environment, science and technology, Ms Sherry Ayitey who also doubled as the chair person for the celebration in her closing remarks advised schools to have Hand washing facilities at vantage points in their schools. This, according to her will prompt children to wash their hands before and after eating, after working on the compound and after using the toilet. she also advised participants, especially the school children to spread the news on hand washing with soap to reduce the amount of money government spends on diseases like diarrhea etc. She stressed that those monies can be used for other developmental projects like building more classroom blocks among others. She then edged event organizers to involve more people like market women and street vendors to help spread the news wider.
This year’s event was marked with various performances by school children from the LEKMA cluster of schools. The second lady, Mrs Amisah Arthur, Hon E.T Mensah and Hon. Sherry Ayitey proceeded to wash their hands symbolically pledging their commitment to the practice. They were followed by the traditional leaders present at the event and every other person present. Mrs Amisah –Arthur, the two ministers of state together with the school children then cut the anniversary cake symbolizing all children in Ghana who have made it to their 5th birthday and beyond.
The day’s activities ended with a cultural performance from the School of the deaf. The event brought together hundreds of people, mainly school children, development partners, government agencies, NGOs and the media.