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Ignoring that hand-wash is gravely!

posted 4 Mar 2013, 10:48 by Sekuma Peter

IT is a small but critical aspect of hygiene that could slowly lead you to your grave. Yet, for most Ugandans, asking one to wash hands upon shaking hands with others and or visiting latrines/ toilets is demeaning, if not, insulting.

Right from the family, through to schools, universities and to work places, Ugandans are, consciously or otherwise, resistant to hand washing, or is it?

“It (hand-washing) is something you don’t have to be told to do,” says Daoud Mukama Mukungu, a public health specialist at the water and environment ministry. “It is one vaccine against most diseases, but many Ugandans avoid it.”

Policies and MDG 7C

In a bid to ensure more Ugandans access safe and clean water, policies, including the National Gender Policy, 1997, the National Health Policy, 1999, the Constitution, 1995, the Environment Act, the Local Government Act and Water Resource Regulation, 1998, have been enacted.

However, access to clean and safe water is still elusive even with a government commitment to ensure 77% of the rural population and 100% of urban population have full access to this precious resource by 2015. This target has been modified to ensure clean and safe water for all Ugandans.

Access to safe and clean drinking water is also denoted in Target 7C of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that seeks to halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

The UN, however, notes that whilst the world is on track to meet the target to meet the drinking water target, a lot remains to be done in some regions, with accelerated and targeted efforts needed to bring drinking water to all households.

The safe water supply, too, remains a challenge in most parts of the world, with half of the population of developing regions without sanitation.