As part of the Global Handwashing Day to be observed on October 15, Tuesday, a campaign to create awareness among schoolchildren in the age group of 6 to 14 years was organised in 25 Government High Schools in Namakkal district on Thursday and Friday. It was organised with the support of the School Education Department.
“More than 3,000 children were explained on the importance of washing their hands with soap. Students were asked to practice it at home from Tuesday,” says S.L. Sathiya Nesan — Director of LEAF Society, an NGO that is promoting good sanitation practices in the rural pockets of the district. A demonstration on washing hands with soap was demonstrated before the students. The demonstration started with wetting the hands before soaping, soaping the hands, cleaning the nails, between the fingers and scrubbing the palm before washing their hands with water to remove the dirt and soap.
They were shown the difference between washing their hands with plain water and how effective it was to wash their hands after soaping. Students were asked to wash their hands before and after food, after using the toilets, after playing and using the laboratory. Students were also given postcards, with a schedule to remind them on when and how to wash their hands. Deputy Director of Health Services B.R. Jemini told The Hindu that the theme for the Global Hand Washing Day this year is “The Power is in Your Hands”. According to him, washing the hands with soap could avoid about 50 per cent of diarrhoeal deaths of children.
Officials from the health department and NGOs working on health and sanitation said that they faced difficulty in creating awareness on the need to wash their hands — with soap — among the rural masses. As part of the observance, Namakkal Collector V. Dakshinamoorthy will flag off an awareness rally here on Tuesday.
All government schools and integrated child development scheme centres have been instructed to organise awareness lectures on the importance of washing their hands.