Without a proper hand washing routine, the chances of getting an infectious disease gets threefold, General Secretary of Infections Control Society, Dr Khurshid Hashmi said on the occasion of ‘Global Hand Washing Day’.
Working also as a pathologist at the Liaquat National Hospital, Dr Hashmi says that in the past 30 years the rising trends of infectious diseases in Pakistan has been because of the lack of proper hygiene and sanitation. Taking care of personal hygiene which starts with staying clean can kill 70 per cent of the diseases, he said.
Clean Hands Save Lives is the theme of this year’s hand washing day and the doctor says that it has a serious meaning attached to it which many people do not take seriously enough. Quoting a study conducted at the Aga Khan University Hospital 10 years back, Dr Hashmi said that it was conducted at Manzoor Colony in Karachi. The hospital conducted the study keeping in mind the rising trend of newborns dying within the first two years of birth, because of diarrhoea. The study found out that the basic cause of diarrhoea was because the mother was not following personal hygiene at all.
“The team not only gave them a lecture, like we all do, on being neat and clean, but also explained why they should be taking care of their hygiene. At the same time they provided soap, towel and a gallon of water and trained them as well to further elaborate the process,” says Dr Hashmi. In just one year it proved that in a given period of time diarrhoea can be controlled by 50 per cent with the intervention by the health care community and simply by washing hands, he adds.
In a lighter tone, Dr Hashmi says that on many occasions he has heard people point out that how it is easy to talk to someone without understanding the basic issues of sanitation in certain areas of Karachi. “In that same seminar of 50 people, where I was given that suggestion, just two people went to the wash basin which was just a few feet away from the dining hall. So what I learned that day was to apply the knowledge that I have rather than just lecturing anyone.”
In the same vein he said that he had observed many people to be very particular about their hygiene and using a hand sanitiser. But he says that it should be kept in mind that hand sanitiser is to be used when there is no other option, and added that it is “in no way a replacement for hand washing”.
He said that hands should be washed after touching a door knob or a tap as it also carries germs which could be harmful.