Mr Kwadwo Nyamekye-Marfo, Brong- Ahafo Regional Minister, on Monday stated that diarrhea has been identified as a major cause of illness and death among children in the country.
He said available statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) also indicate that about three million children die of diarrhea every year.
Mr. Nyamekye-Marfo made the statement in a speech read for him at the regional celebration of the global hand washing day to create awareness on the importance of hand washing and good hygiene practice in Sunyani.
It was on the global theme, “Help more children reach their fifth birthday”.
The Regional Minister stressed the need for a strong hygiene approach to curb the incidence of diarrhea and also reduce the burden of health care on families.
He said the region’s aim “is to ensure that children grow beyond their fifth birthday”, and therefore urged stakeholders to assist in sustaining behavioural change through sensitization at all levels in the society.
Mr. Nyamekye-Marfo stated that proper sanitation and good hygiene practice had been undervalued for the quest of development and modernization, adding that with the looming threat of cholera, promotion of hygiene would have a positive impact particularly on women and children, who were the most vulnerable to diseases.
As care-givers and major providers of food at home and public places, a woman with contaminated hands could easily affect the health of a whole family and outsiders, the Regional Minister noted.
He entreated the general public to religiously practice hand washing to reduce the high incidence of diarrhea, noting that the disease could be prevented by ensuring good and proper sanitation practices and clean environment.
Mr Divine D. Dugbartey, Chief Water and Sanitation Engineer, Community Water and Sanitation Agency in Sunyani, said the CWSA in collaboration with some development partners since 2001, had been promoting hand washing with soap to improve health conditions of Ghanaians.
He said hand washing was a key action in promoting health since it was a main infection control and called on all stakeholders to support such a noble cause to achieve its objective.
Nana Bofotia Boamponsem II, Krontihene of Sunyani Traditional Area, stated that all food vendors, butchers, market women and all those who dealt directly with food must be sensitized to practice good hygiene to avoid food contamination.
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