“You’ve been playing with your friends in the park for a long time. It’s time to go home and wash your hands.” This sentence is probably the most hated sentence for a child who just wants to play with his friends from the moment he wakes up until he falls asleep. Meanwhile, his mother is simply trying to protect him from all the infections he might catch while playing.
In the annual celebration of Global Hand Washing Day, the soap brand and health advocates “Lifebuoy” launched the National Hand Washing Campaign, aiming to raise awareness on the importance of washing hands.
With the participation of 10,000 children, the campaign focused on the importance of washings hands, helping protect the body from many infections, from the common cold to more serious illnesses like salmonella, meningitis, and diarrhea.
The campaign was held under the auspices of the Ministries of Education, Health and Population, Urban Development, as well as the participation of the Health Insurance Organization. It focused on spreading the culture of hand-washing among children in less developed areas, as they suffer from lack of awareness.
“We aim to reach every family in order to inform them about the benefits of hand washing,” said Wefky Fouad, General Manager at the Health Insurance Organization. “It is one of the cheapest, most effective preventive measures against 85% of infectious disease.”
“It’s very important to spread such awareness among people, especially children,” said Merna Tarek, a first grade English. “Also, it’s a shared role between school and parents that requires both partners to succeed at saving children from catching diseases.”
According to Tarek, working in a private school with a small number of students in each class allows her to pay attention to having each student’s hands washed several times a day, before eating and after doing any activity. However, this is far more difficult with larger groups of children in schools in less developed areas, and public schools.
Washing children’s hands helps prevent a surprising number of dangerous illnesses. Hand, foot, and mouth disease is a common viral illness that usually affects infants and children younger than 10 years-old. Children carry the infection through tactile contact, and the disease has very similar symptoms to the flu, making it extremely difficult to recognise.
Statistics from the World Health Association (WHO) show that the common virus of influenza, with all its types, has attack rates estimated at 5–10% in adults and 20%–30% in children, leading to 3-5 million cases of severe illness, and about 250,000 to 500,000 deaths each year. Washing hands regularly is one of the ways of preventing it.