The World Health Organisation (WHO) joined forces with the government and celebrated Global Handwashing Day at Polyclinic here on Friday.
The focus of the event was to sensitise healthcare workers-primarily doctors, nurses, and sanitary staff-about the fact that hand hygiene is the single most important method of preventing and controlling infection in healthcare facilities. The objective of the annual observation is to raise awareness about the benefits of washing hands with soap and to share scientific evidence showing the said practice is an exceptionally efficacious and cost-effective health intervention. Studies have shown that the bacteria that cause hospital-acquired infections are most frequently spread from one patient to another through the hands of healthcare workers. Cleaning your hands before and after having contact with patients is one of the most important measures for preventing the spread of bacteria in healthcare settings.
The simple act of washing hands with soap can significantly cut the risk of diarrhoea to 50 per cent and that of respiratory tract infection to 45 percent. WHO estimates that diarrhoea kills one child every 30 seconds. Scientific research shows that handwashing with soap prevents disease in a more straightforward and cost-effective way than any single vaccine.
Hand-washing with soap thus represents a cornerstone of public health. It can be considered an affordable, accessible do-it-yourself vaccine. WHO is celebrating Global Handwashing in 80 districts of Pakistan, mainly targeting IDP camps, schools, healthcare facilities and other community centres, and mobilising people to wash their hands with soap.