PZ Cussons Ghana, a global manufacturer of personal care products and an active player in the global handwashing movement, has marked this year’s Global Handwashing Day celebration with a strong call for stakeholder support in stepping up awareness about the importance of handwashing with soap.
Riding on the “Say Yes to Life” campaign, PZ Cussons Ghana is committed to replicating effective ways to encourage people to be deliberate about hygiene practices by washing their hands at critical times with soap, thus allowing for a safer and happier life.
Speaking on the need for handwashing with soap, Mr. Nana Boateng, the African Regional Brand Manager for PZ Cussons Ghana, said although many people knew the importance of handwashing with soap, it wasn’t automatic or a guarantee that everyone would wash their hands with soap. He noted that in view of the important things the hand is used for; such as to play, eat, work, greet, hug, and create, it was necessary for the company to embark on periodic campaigns to sensitize and educate the general public to embrace personal hand hygiene practices, as a lifestyle.
“Handwashing should be a necessary part of our daily activities. It is to help keep us away from contacting germs and bacteria, especially for children. As a brand committed to hygiene and skin care, it is important that we encourage everybody to make handwashing a habit, in order to drastically reduce the incidence of diarrhea, cholera and pneumonia, which account for a high mortality rate in children under 5 years around the world,” he said.
Mr. Nana Boateng stated that according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1.8 million children aged 5 years and less, die each year from diarrheal diseases and pneumonia, the top two causes of death among young children worldwide. He explained that germs and bacteria causing illnesses are commonly passed on among people through simple means of touch, for instance, shaking hands with people. Other ways of transference, he added include: touching someone after sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose, after handling garbage, before and after treating wounds or after touching an animal or animal waste.
“Everybody needs handwashing. Both adults and children need to be taught the proper way of handwashing. In the case of children, they need to be oriented, encouraged and assisted to take responsibility when faced with certain lifestyle issues such as washing their hands with soap immediately after visiting the toilet, before and after contact with food, and to keep their hands safe and clean at all times using the Carex hand sanitizer,” he said.
According to Mr. Boateng, washing hands with soap is not tied to any particular time of day. “It is an activity that should rather be done consciously throughout the day. To begin the handwashing process, people need to have access to water and soap. Although any type of water is good for use, warm water is ideal because it can melt tough stains like oil in the palms,” he stated.
He however advised that people avoid washing hands alone with water since it does not guarantee 100% protection against germs and bacteria. He noted also that appropriate soaps for handwashing, are those that are purposely formulated for skin care, such as the Carex hand wash and not detergents which are used for washing clothes or utensils.
Mr. Boateng described handwashing as a simple yet effective process, saying the correct way to wash is: “You first have to wet your hands under running water and then you apply the soap on your hand. The second step is to rub both hands together; scrubbing the back of both hands. Thirdly, rub your fingers together and the space in-between the fingers. Then clean your fingernails and scrub the base of your thumbs. Ensure your palm, fingernails and wrists are covered with well lathered. Lastly, you rinse off the lather and wipe your hands with a clean paper towel or an air dryer.”
Benefits of handwashing with soap
With regards to benefits, he noted that handwashing with soap in the big scheme of things “creates a handwashing society where people get involved with everything life throws at them, knowing that at the end of it all, that their skin and hands are cared for and protected.” This assured protection “empowers both children and adults to pursue their dreams. Indeed our hands, our future!” he added.
Calling for stakeholder engagement, Mr. Nana Boateng said the handwashing campaign should be a matter of national interest. He underscored the need for collaborations among individuals, health organizations, corporate organizations, religious bodies, and government institutions like the District Assemblies and Metropolitan Assemblies. He said he welcomed the idea of integrating handwashing and personal care practices into the curriculum for schools, which invariably becomes a habit or lifestyle of students. “The platform to do this is bigger and so we expect all hands are on deck. We urge parents, teachers, caretakers, institutions and the general public to come on board to drive and achieve the goal of this campaign. Say Yes to Life; embrace handwashing and enjoy life to the fullest,” Mr. Nana Boateng said.
About Global Handwashing Day
Global Handwashing Day is a yearly advocacy day to raise awareness and understanding about the importance of hand washing with soap as an easy and effective way to prevent diseases and save lives. Celebrated every 15th of October, this year’s celebration is on the theme: “Our Hands, Our Future!” reminding us that hand washing is an affordable and effective way to protecting the health of individuals, families and communities across the world, thus allowing for a collective happy future.
As part of Carex’s celebration this year, various hand hygiene products have been donated to several orphanages in Accra. Carex has also launched the ‘Messy Hands’ social media campaign #SayYesToLife to further emphasize the message using fun and engagement.