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Kabarole Students Still Shun Hand Washing :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Kabarole Students Still Shun Hand Washing

Indeed when a URN reporter visited a number of schools, he established that even where facilities exist, pupils do not wash their hands after visiting the toilet. Several of them claimed that their hands were still clean even after using the toilet, while others use the scarcity of water as the main excuse.

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A recent outbreak of diarrhea and dysentery in primary schools in Kabarole district has been attributed to the absence and reduced use of hand washing facilities.

Richard Obet, the Kabarole district health officer faults school authorities for failing to implement a deliberate hand washing crusade a result of which, pupils develop poor personal hygiene habits.  As a result, they are exposed to infectious diseases that are spread by contaminated hands.

Indeed when a URN reporter visited a number of schools, he established that even where facilities exist, pupils do not wash their hands after visiting the toilet. Several of them claimed that their hands were still clean even after using the toilet, while others use the scarcity of water as the main excuse.

David Mugisa, a teacher at Bukuku Primary School admits that the practice of washing hands is very poor in the school. Mugisa says that the tippy taps are filled with water every morning, but the water is never used.

//Cue in: “the facilities are there…

Cue out: “...they need to be told.”//

On the other hand, David Mugume, the deputy head teacher of Karago Primary School attributes the shortfalls in implementing hand washing to scarcity of water. According to Mugume, the nearest water source is 4 kilometers away from the school. Five cases of severe diarrhea were reported at the school in a recent outbreak.

//Cue in; “no access to water…

Cue out: “…far away from the school.”//

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the simple act of hand-washing with soap and water at critical times can reduce the occurrence of diarrhea and other water-borne diseases by half as well as reduce the risk of lower respiratory tract infections like pneumonia by up to 23%. Hand washing can also prevent skin infections, eye infections, intestinal worms, and Avian Flu.

In order to achieve the target, Richard Obet, the Kabarole district health officer says hand washing ambassadors have been recruited and are being trained to educate pupils and teachers about the benefits of having hand washing facilities at the school.

He also says that there are plans for schools to be provided with tippy taps, soap and educational materials.

Statistics from the Ministry of Health indicates that only one in four Ugandans wash hands properly- with soap and water- after using a latrine/ toilet, explaining why about 75% of the country\'s disease burden is linked to poor hygiene and inadequate sanitation facilities and practices.

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