News Feature: Proper hand washing can save lives
By Czarina Teresita S. Martinez
The Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) found that 8 out of 10 children practiced handwashing before and after meals. The highest percentages of children washing their hands were in Ilocos Region, followed by Central Luzon.
The Department of Education (DepEd) recognizes that academic performance of the pupils and instructional outcomes are largely determined by the quality of health of the school children.
DepEd institutionalizes the Essential Health Care Program (EHCP) to address the most common hygiene deficient related problems in public schools due to lack of water and functional sanitary facilities.
The aim is to promote cleanliness through simple, yet cost-effective interventions like washing of hands before and after meals.
In a similar study done in Bogota, Colombia published in the American Journal of Public Health, Dr. Yehuda Neumark reported that scarcity of adequate facilities prevents children from adopting proper hygienic behavior and thwarts health promotion efforts.
The renovations in public schools will provide a unique opportunity to meet the challenges of supportive environment for adoption of healthy behavior.
In the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH), leads the celebration of Global Handwashing Day every October 15 of the year. The global advocacy day is dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap and clean water as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says that a large percentage of food-borne disease outbreaks are spread by contaminated hands. The simple act of handwashing with soap and clean water among children under five years old can reduce the incidence of diarrhea by 40 percent and respiratory infection by 25 percent.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that although people around the world clean their hands with water, very few use soap to wash their hands. Washing hands with soap removes germs much more effectively.
Here are 6 easy steps to proper handwashing, as recommended by DOH
· Wet your hands with clean water and apply soap.
· Lather soap; rub hands together, palm-to-palm and in between fingers.
· Rub back of one hand with the palm of your other hand.
· Rub fingertips of each hand in opposite palm.
· Rub each thumb clasped in opposite hand.
· Rub both palms with fingers then rinse thoroughly with running water.
· Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Hand washing with soap and water removes the dirt and bacteria from the hands. It prevents the transmission of disease. Proper handwashing is simple. It is a lifesaving habit.
For more information on food and nutrition, write or call: Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Director, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City; Telephone / Fax Nos: (02) 837-2934 or (02) 837-3164; Direct Line 839-1839; DOST Trunk Line:837-2071 to 82 local 2296 or 2284; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com; FNRI-DOST website: http://www.fnri.dost.gov.ph. Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/FNRI.DOST or follow our twitter account at twitter.com/FNRI_DOST. (FNRI-DOST S&T Media Service/PIA-Caraga)