Significance of hand washing : In preventing spread of infectious diseases

BY: Ama Kudom-Agyemang
Belinda of Konsuaso community in the Kejebi District in the Volta Region washing her hands after using the toilet.

Yes, believe it or not, the simple act of hand washing has been proven to be one of the most inexpensive and effective ways to reduce child mortality rates and prevent the spread of infections.

Hand washing with soap has been cited as one of the most cost-effective interventions to prevent diarrhoea - related deaths and infectious diseases.
Statistics compiled by UN agencies, including UNICEF, indicate that hand washing with soap at critical times - including before eating or preparing food and after using the toilet can reduce diarrhoea rates by more than 40 per cent.

It can cut down the incidence of acute respiratory infections such as influence and pneumonia by around 23 per cent. Hand washing can also be a critical measure in controlling pandemic outbreaks of respiratory infections. Several studies carried out during the 2006 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) suggest that washing hands more than 10 times a day can cut the spread of the re